6 companies combine to launch stakeholder solutions firm Penta

Matt McDonald will serve as president of the new agency.

Penta president Matt McDonald.

WASHINGTON: Ballast Research, Hamilton Place Strategies, Flag Media Analytics, alva, Gotham Research Group and Decode_M have merged together to form Penta. 

The involved companies will not retain their branding, now unified underneath the Penta banner. They had previously been purchased by private equity firm Falfurrias Capital Partners (FCP). 

Matt McDonald, CEO of Flag Media Analytics and partner at Hamilton Place Strategies, will become president of Penta. He said the firm will focus on providing comprehensive stakeholder solutions for clients. 

“We’re distinct in [the fact that] that intelligence and data is integrated with the strategy and execution side of the business,” McDonald said. 

Penta’s services include strategic communications, crisis management, research and polling, message testing, media monitoring and mergers and acquisitions.

The firm has more than 200 clients, according to a company statement, but specific details were not disclosed. 

Tony Fratto, partner at Hamilton Place Strategies; Alberto Lopez-Valenzuela, alva founder and CEO; Mike Berland, Decode_M founder and CEO; and Kevin Madden, EVP at Arnold Ventures, will serve as senior partners at Penta. 

Jeff Levine, president of Gotham Research Group, will assume a partner role at the new organization. Mike Gottlieb will continue as president of Ballast Research until the company concludes its current research cycle, likely then becoming a senior partner at Penta. 

FCP senior advisers Alexander Jutkowitz and Beth Comstock will serve as Penta board advisors. 

There will be no layoffs as a result of the merger. Penta has offices in Washington, DC, New York, London and San Francisco. The agency has over 200 staffers. 


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