WASHINGTON, D.C.—Just two weeks after parent company Grey Global Group agreed to sell to WPP, international public affairs firm APCO Worldwide has concluded a management buyout. Grey had announced its intention to sell APCO in September last year, and the firm attracted several potential suitors before securing the financing for the buyout deal.
As a result of this buyout APCO will become one of the largest privately owned consulting firms in the public affairs and strategic communications sector, with 400 employees and 24 offices.
“We begin our 20th year in business with an important step in building a successful firm for the next 20 years,” says Margery Kraus, president, CEO and founder of APCO Worldwide, who began the firm as its only employee. “We are broadening ownership opportunities for management and employees by creating a new structure more typical of a professional services firm. Clients can expect no change in the high level of service they receive from APCO.
“Providing this incentive for senior professionals is a reinforcement of our strategy to attract and retain key talent as the single most important element in delivering the highest quality and most strategic service to our clients. We will also have ample financial resources to achieve our growth objectives.”
The management team is partnering with the WindRiver group, which provide investment and providing strategic advice. Founded in 1999, WindRiver is a merchant bank with global experience across a variety of industries, including the service industry, and a specialization in management buyouts.
According to Ron Boschetto, director of WindRiver. “It is rare to find a consultancy with such a breadth of highly skilled staff and depth of talent and expertise across so many industries around the world. We have great confidence in the management of the company and look forward to helping them rapidly expand their business to become a dominant force in their principal markets.
“Integral to our shared vision is the broad based employee ownership we have been able to establish, which will translate into a more exciting and dynamic environment for employees which ultimately provides the greatest benefit for clients.”
APCO management will remain unchanged as a result of the deal.
Grey purchased majority ownership of APCO in 1991 from Arnold & Porter, a Washington, D.C., law firm “It has been a pleasure to watch APCO grow over the past 13 years, and the company’s future is filled with potential,” said Ed Meyer. “Grey will continue to partner with APCO on projects of mutual benefit, and I look forward to the company’s continued success.”