It will see TopLine launch a dedicated science and engineering arm in addition to its existing technology, fintech, and education divisions, as six of Reading-based Six Degrees account team join TopLine’s London office.
Six Degrees chairman Jennifer Janson and director Mark James will step down from day-to-day operations but have become minority shareholders in the expanded organisation - CEO Heather Baker is the majority shareholder. Janson and James will both continue with Six Degrees as consultants, handling some client work, the agency said.
The combined operation will generate annual revenue of £2.9m and employ 32 people in London and Cape Town; TopLine opened its first international office in Cape Town in 2016. Its client list includes Saft, British Land, Wrike, Xero, Checkout.com, Bullhorn, and The Hackett Group.
TopLine Comms, founded in 2008 by Baker, generated UK revenue of £1.7m in 2017, according to PRWeek’s UK Top 150 Consultancies table. It employed 22 people in the year.
Six Degrees was founded in 1977 as Roger Staton Associates.
The cost of the acquisition has not been disclosed.
Baker said: "We have had ambitions to break into the science and engineering space for some time and this acquisition represents a strategic move for the business which enhances TopLine’s reputation in an important UK sector.
"We’ve collaborated with Six Degrees in the past, and we respect and admire their work. So when the opportunity to acquire the company arose, we took it. With their science and engineering knowledge and our digital skills, we’ll be a force to be reckoned with."
Janson said: "We’ve always taken a holistic approach to building business reputation, and increasingly we were having to bring in partners to support us with more lead generation, digital and video capability. As a result, joining forces with TopLine – a company that has digital capabilities aimed at the B2B market at its core – made great sense. Heather and I have known each other for over a decade and I’ve no doubt this business will be far greater than simply the sum of its parts."
One Six Degrees employee has left the business as a result of the integration, a spokesman confirmed.