The Stagwell Group and Finn Partners, announced that Stagwell made an investment in Finn Partners and the two firms will also create a new public relations agency as a joint venture.
As part of the deal, stated a release, the Stagwell Group purchased preferred stock in Finn Partners carrying future conversion rights to a minority interest in the firm. “Since its launch in December 2011, Finn Partners has more than tripled in size and this investment will support its growth going forward. As this is a minority investment, there is no change in management, structure or operations of Finn Partners. Stagwell Group’s Managing Partner Mark Penn will join Peter Finn on the Finn Partners board,” stated the release.
In addition, the Stagwell Group and Finn Partners, which has a D.C. office, will create a new jointly-owned public relations agency, Wye Communications. Wye will draw on the talents of the Stagwell Group’s and Finn Partners’ combined 1,350+ professionals around the world to provide innovative services for Stagwell clients and serve conflicts for Finn Partners. Stagwell will have a controlling interest in the new firm.
“We are delighted to invest in the tremendous growth of Finn Partners,” said Penn, “and are looking forward to helping both Finn Partners and Wye Communications grow. We believe there is strong client desire for the kind of digital, creative forward-thinking work we can do together.”
Finn said, “We have been on a rapid growth trajectory. Stagwell’s investment enhances our ability to continue to build Finn Partners into a world class global agency that provides critical services to clients globally, including clients in arts, health, consumer, technology, education, travel, and corporate and public affairs, as well as professional and financial services. The joint ownership of Wye Communications makes this new partnership that much more exciting for us.”
The Stagwell Group was formed in 2015 by former Burson-Masteller chief executive Penn, who also serves as the managing partner of Stagwell Media. Former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer—with whom Penn worked in a senior advisory role at the software giant—is a core investor and the group has raised $250 million in capital and may leverage that to make up to $750 million in acquisitions.
Last fall, stated a release, Stagwell acquired strategic communications and public affairs firm SKDKnickerbocker through its Stagwell Media private equity fund. Meanwhile, Finn has been on an acquiring spree over the last two years buying firms that include the Horn Group, Lane PR and Greenfield Belser.