Willoughby PR completes management buyout

Birmingham-based Willoughby PR (WPR) has completed a management buyout in a deal that sees current managing director Jane Ainsworth become the majority shareholder.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, sees founder and current CEO Julia Willoughby retain a significant shareholding, along with deputy MD Jo McCarthy. Willoughby will continue to work for the business as a director with both management and fee-earning responsibilities.

The agency’s head of B2B, Tom Leatherbarrow, is also joining the board.

The agency was founded in 1992 and is ranked 83rd in PRWeek’s Top 150 Consultancies list with an annual turnover of £3.3m, and 43 staff. Its client list includes Wacky Warehouse, Triton Showers, Legrand, Worcester, Bosch Group and Pyrex.

Ainsworth said: "This deal isn’t about change for the agency. It’s protecting our values, maintaining our identity and securing our future as a strong, independent PR and digital agency."

Willoughby said: "Jane and Jo have grown WPR to the sizeable agency we are today and the new share structure reflects their major contribution and commitment to the future success of the business."

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