Exclusive: Finn Partners buys London consumer PR agency

Finn Partners has continued its acquisition programme by buying London-based consumer PR specialist ZPR, with another acquisition in Europe on the cards, PRWeek can reveal.

ZPR founder Zaria Pinchbeck (left) and Finn's Chantal Bowman-Boyles
ZPR founder Zaria Pinchbeck (left) and Finn's Chantal Bowman-Boyles

ZPR, founded in 2001 by Zaria Pinchbeck, has been acquired in its entirely by US-headquartered Finn for an undisclosed sum. ZPR's 20-strong team is set to stay in its Soho base for the time being, before moving in with the rest of Finn at a later date.

The agency will be rebranded ZPR, a Finn Partners Company, with Pinchbeck made managing partner, consumer, Finn Partners EMEA. She will report to Chantal Bowman-Boyles, who leads Finn's EMEA business from London.

ZPR focuses on the consumer, lifestyle, retail and wellness sectors. Clients include Superdrug owner AS Watson Group, Halfords, Hobbycraft, Ladbrokes Coral, Lakeland, the N Brown Group and Waitrose.

Recent revenue for ZPR has not been disclosed, although the agency generated £1.4m in 2016, according to the PRWeek UK Top 150 Consultancies report.

Finn founding partner Peter Finn said: "Our consumer business is a growth sector for us globally, and we have been eager to add sector breadth and depth in EMEA. ZPR has an excellent reputation as a provider of highly creative, results-focused, integrated campaigns for retail, lifestyle, food and beverage, fashion, wellness and beauty brands.

"Bringing them on board is the perfect complement to our recent addition of Kyle Farnham as our global consumer practice leader, as well as to our acquisitions of Missy Farren Associates in the US and CatchOn in Hong Kong."

Bowman-Boyles told PRWeek: "Our strategy is to build by acquisition and organic growth. We've got really strong financial services, travel, technology and manufacturing teams in the UK. We haven't had a pure consumer team here. Obviously that's a big part of what being a full service global agency has to offer."

The addition of ZPR takes Finn's UK presence to about 100 people, following its acquisitions of City of London-based financial services comms specialist Moorgate Communications in February and Brighter Group, the London-based travel PR specialist, in 2018.

Pinchbeck said: "As soon as I met Peter Finn, Chantal and the wider Finn team, I knew we’d found the perfect home for us to take ZPR to the next phase.

"The ZPR team and I are extremely excited for the future as part of the Finn family. The partnership brings our blue-chip consumer and retail expertise to its European team and means we can now offer full-service global support to our existing clients. I look forward to taking the team and our clients on this journey continuing to deliver world-class campaigns in consumer, retail, lifestyle, fashion, health and wellness."

Finn told PRWeek he expects the firm's global revenue to be close to $120m in the current financial year, about 30 per cent up on the previous year. He said growth was split evenly between organic and growth by acquisition.

Consumer accounts for about $15m of its revenue, making it about the same size as travel, and smaller than digital marketing (about $20m), health and tech (about $30m each).

The company currently employs almost 800 people through 18 offices globally, including four in Europe.

Asked about future acquisitions, Finn said: "We will have an announcement in the near future." He said the acquisition would be "European".

On the issue of acquiring an agency in London, given the UK's upcoming exit from the EU, Finn said: "Whatever happens with Brexit, I believe in London, I think London's going to do just fine."

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