College Hill acquires Northbank

Life science specialist Northbank Communications has been bought out by City agency College Hill.

Charles: Northbank CEO
Charles: Northbank CEO

As a result of the acquisition, Northbank’s 32 staff will move into College Hill’s offices next year.

The Northbank name will remain, according to the agency’s CEO Sue Charles.

Northbank is also retaining its existing portfolio of more than 100 life science clients including Oxford BioMedica, Sigma-Aldrich, Novozymes Delata and LifeCycle Pharma.

Charles will stay in place as Northbank’s CEO and will also lead College Hill’s life sciences team as managing partner. Co-founder and director of Northbank Peter Colley will retire at the end of the year.

Northbank senior team members Katja Stout and Chris Fisher will be appoin­ted partner and associate partner respectively.

The deal strengthens Northbank’s offering in financial communications and adds to College Hill’s public policy, internal engagement and strategic research practices.

‘We looked at several options before the acquisition, for expansion and development of the agency,’ said Charles.

‘Sixty per cent of our clients are non-UK and while we do have an office in Munich, we wanted to join with an agency that had a greater global reach. College Hill had this and also had the
opportunity to keep growing worldwide.

‘We could also add to College Hill’s existing life science experience.’

The acquisition comes shortly after Northbank landed a corporate, commercial and medical comms account with BTG. The bio­pharma company awarded the agency its UK PR brief last month (PRWeek, 7 September).

Northbank ranked 12th in this year’s PRWeek healthcare top 25 and came in at number 88 in PRWeek’s Top 150 Consultancies 2007. Healthcare was responsible for 92 per cent of the comp­any’s £2.6m turnover in 2006.

College Hill has also acq­uired Gainsborough Communications and Stonehenge PR in the past year. The agency is now 150 strong.

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