Porta buys PPS for £6.2m to strengthen Newgate operation

Infrastructure and property planning and public affairs consultancy and top 50 UK agency PPS Group is selling to David Wright's Porta Communications for £6.2m in a mixture of cash and Porta shares.

David Wright: Porta chief executive
David Wright: Porta chief executive

Porta, which owns Newgate, Redleaf Polhill and Thirteen Communications, is to merge PPS with the former, with PPS MD Stephen Byfield becoming head of Newgate’s public affairs practice in London and Brussels.

PPS produced fee income of £4.6m and pre-tax profit of £706,277 in the year to 30 April 2014 and has 45 staff operating from offices in London, Manchester, Bristol, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Cardiff.

Wright, the chief executive of stockmarket-listed Porta, said: "PPS has a proven track record in community engagement, coalition building and stakeholder communications, which will combine well with Newgate’s corporate reputation management approach."

Byfield will work with Newgate managing partner Deborah Saw, who now heads a business with 82 staff in the UK.

The Porta shares PPS shareholders will receive are subject to a lock-in agreement that provides for a 24-month lock-in period and a further 12 months orderly market period.

PPS was ranked 49th in this year’s Top 150 Consultancies and was a finalist in the mid-sized agency category in this year’s PRWeek Awards.

Byfield said: "PPS has been independent for nearly 25 years. We have achieved great things in that time but an injection of fresh capital and thinking is just what we need to foster our growth and innovation."

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