NEW YORK: SKDKnickerbocker has acquired Sloane & Company in the public affairs firm’s first acquisition in its 16-year history.
Sloane will operate as an independent, wholly owned subsidiary of SKDK with Darren Brandt and Whit Clay continuing as co-CEOs. Sloane and SKDKnickerbocker will both retain their brands.
“We are very excited because the acquisition of Sloane & Company presents a huge opportunity for SKDK and for our current and future clients,” SKDK CEO Josh Isay said via email. “SKDK and Sloane are now uniquely positioned in the marketplace to provide corporate and financial PR, transaction support and special situations and public affairs work at the highest level.”
Clay said the deal will combine Sloane’s specialty in financial and corporate communications with SKDK’s strength in public affairs.
“We think the market is fertile for what our organizations offer and how we can work together,” he said. “We have some practice areas or services that are unique to our organizations that, if brought together, could be compelling.”
Clay declined to identify specific clients that both SKDK and Sloane could work with together. He added that discussions about a deal started last fall.
Both agencies are owned by companies managed by former Burson-Marsteller CEO and one-time top Clinton adviser Mark Penn. MDC Partners acquired a majority stake in Sloane & Company in 2010, and Stagwell Group bought SKDKnickerbocker in 2015. Penn founded investment firm Stagwell that same year. Last March, it invested $100 million into MDC and Penn was named MDC’s CEO.
Clay said Stagwell provided the financial resources for the deal, but declined to say if it involved cash or equity.
In December, MDC formed a seven-agency network built around creative shop Doner that is comprised of 700 employees in a dozen offices in North America. The network includes PR firms KWT Global and HL Group, as well as digital influencer marketing and PR agency Veritas and its content production shop Meat&Produce.
Asked if MDC has considered placing Sloane in a similar network, Clay said, “We really are unique in the MDC Partners structure, given what we do and how we approach things. This is an exciting and compelling opportunity to partner with SKD.”
MDC revenue dropped 8.8% in Q3 2019 to $342 million. It is set to report its Q4 and full-year 2019 earnings next week.