(Bloomberg) -- WPP Plc-backed public relations firm Finsbury Glover Hering is merging with its U.S. rival Sard Verbinnen & Co. to create one of the world’s biggest corporate communications companies.
The deal values the newly-merged business at $917 million and opens the prospect of a possible initial public offering at a later date, London-based WPP said in a statement Wednesday. The firm will be based in New York and have 25 offices globally with about 1,000 staffers.
It accelerates a consolidation of the lucrative business of managing reputations and advising the world’s biggest businesses. FGH was itself the product of a three-way merger and management buy-in earlier this year.
Wednesday’s deal is complex too.
WPP, one of the world’s big five marketing agencies, owns 50.01% of FGH and will convert an existing loan note in FGH into equity. It will then exchange its stake for shares in a newly formed holding company and pay for more new shares in that company for $150 million in cash.
The new business will buy SVC from private equity firm Golden Gate Capital LP and its management, paying $150 million in cash and new shares worth 16.6% of the merged entity, valuing SVC at $303 million.
WPP will hold 57.4% of the as-yet unnamed group while the firm’s employees will own about 40% of the company. SVC’s sellers will have an option to force WPP to buy out the remaining shares if an IPO hasn’t taken place by 2024.
The company will be led by co-chairmen from both firms, including George Sard, Roland Rudd and Carter Eskew. The global chief executive officer will be Alexander Geiser while Ajay Junnarkar will serve as global chief financial officer. Sydney Neuhaus will be global chief operating officer and Andrew Cole will be deputy global CEO. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
(Updates with details starting in second paragraph)
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