Finn Partners: PRWeek Global Agency Business Report 2016

In its fourth year of operations, Finn Partners expanded significantly through acquisitions in 2015.

Peter Finn, CEO and founding partner, Finn Partners
Peter Finn, CEO and founding partner, Finn Partners

Principals: Peter Finn, CEO and founding partner; and Richard Funess, president
Offices: Global: 12, U.S.: 8
Revenue: Global: $71.7 million; US: $66.8 million

In its fourth year of operations, Finn Partners expanded significantly through acquisitions in 2015, buying DVL PR & Advertising and Seigenthaler PR. And in September, the independent firm purchased tech specialist Horn Group. Finn Partners’ revenue reached nearly $71.7 million last year, an uptick of 36%, and organic growth was up 5.5%, compared with 2014.

"My focus is on strengthening our practice areas, building market share where we have offices, and enhancing the resources we offer to clients," explains founding partner Peter Finn. "Our overall growth is what matters. I’m happy with our growth in 2015; how much of that is organic acquisitions is of much less importance to me."

Significant client wins in 2015 included PR AOR for Cinnabon, an account that was expanded to include work with sister companies Auntie Anne’s and Carvel in early 2016. It also retained the iconic I Love New York tourism account, which was expanded from a focus on the U.S. to internationally. The firm also won work for Bloomberg Philanthropies, CareerBuilder, and Fruit of the Loom. Nearly two out of three of the agency’s clients are on a retainer.

Lost accounts for the agency came from clothing brand The North Face and PetSmart, as well as the AOR for the Cruise Lines International Association. The firm’s New York headquarters continued to produce the most revenue last year, while its San Francisco location grew most rapidly.

New hires drive improved growth
Branding, digital, and media relations were the top three services used by clients last year, while technology and healthcare were the areas that showed most growth. Finn credited the hires of Gil Bashe from Makovsky and Sabrina Horn as her eponymous agency was acquired; both were named to the new role of managing partner for those units.

The agency also hired former Cohn & Wolfe EVP Kristie Kuhl as senior partner in the healthcare practice, and Brian Sinderson and Debra Raine as senior partners in the tech practices. Beth Seigenthaler Courtney and Ronald Roberts were brought on as president and CEO, respectively, of the firm’s Nashville office.

The firm increased its staff headcount to 476 staffers last year, with a 14% global staff turnover rate. Finn added that the agency’s acquisition streak will continue in 2016.

"Geographically in the next year, we could strengthen, and there may be some new markets to go into," he says, adding that the firm could look to expand internationally over time as well.

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