WPP’s Finsbury Glover Hering to merge with Sard Verbinnen

finsbury glover hering SVC merger - mediashotz

WPP today announced that its majority-owned subsidiary, Finsbury Glover Hering Corporation is to buy US rival Sard Verbinnen & Co in a merger designed to create a world-leading strategic communications firm.

Finsbury Glover Hering and Sard Verbinnen merger

The newly combined firm, the name of which has not yet been made public, will help clients achieve their missions and realise their business goals, with approximately 1,000 professionals operating from 25 offices in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States, including its global headquarters in New York. 

Pro forma combined 2020 revenue was more than $330 million and the combined group will be valued at $917m, the FT reported.

Over the past three decades, both Finsbury Glover Hering and SVC have built impressive reputations advising clients during their most significant transformational events, WPP said. 

The new firm will be a leader in all aspects of strategic communications, including government affairs, corporate reputation, crisis management, and transformation and change, as well as the leading force in financial communications worldwide, with strong experience and expertise in M&A, private equity, IPOs, SPAC transactions, shareholder activism and restructurings.

Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said: “The demand for Board-level strategic advice on a growing range of financial, reputational and social issues has never been greater. 

“As the reputations of companies and their brands become ever more closely linked, our leadership in this area is a core part of our offer as we support our clients’ continued transformation. 

“WPP is delighted to support the ambitions of the leadership teams of Finsbury Glover Hering and SVC in creating a powerhouse in strategic communications, with the expertise, scale and footprint to provide unparalleled service to global clients.”

The merge firm’s professionals have deep sector knowledge within rapidly growing industries such as Health, Food and Agriculture, and Renewable Energy, as well as expertise in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I), Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), litigation and regulatory communications, and cybersecurity.

Senior professionals from Finsbury Glover Hering and SVC will also lead the new company. 

SVC’s George Sard will join Finsbury Glover Hering’s Roland Rudd and Carter Eskew as Co-Chairmen. 

Alexander Geiser will serve as Global CEO, Ajay Junnakar will serve as Global CFO, Sydney Neuhaus will serve as Global COO and  Andrew Cole as Deputy Global CEO.

Completion of the Transaction is conditional on the satisfaction or waiver of certain conditions, including the expiration or termination of the waiting period under the US Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended. 

The Transaction is expected to complete in Q4 2021 and the combined company will operate under a new name starting in 2022, to be announced in due course.

Finsbury Glover Hering Co-Chairmen Roland Rudd and Carter Eskew said: “Our clients operate in an increasingly complex world with diverse stakeholder interests. 

“To generate growth, open markets, shape policy and attract capital, companies need to seamlessly communicate to more audiences and across more markets than ever before. 

“This merger brings together the most accomplished communications professionals, operating within a global firm that will have the expertise and experience to deliver reputation advisory services to address critical c-suite concerns.”

SVC Co-Founders George Sard and Paul Verbinnen added: “This is a combination of two successful, growing firms with strong track records, complementary leadership positions, deep entrepreneurial spirits, cultures of collaboration and integrity, and a heritage of delivering for our clients at their most high-pressure moments. 

“Our success has been driven by our teams’ tireless commitment to supporting our clients and one another, and upholding high standards of excellence in all that we do. 

“We are particularly excited that the combination will enable us to provide additional professional development opportunities and establish a new generation of employee owners in the combined company.”