MADRID—Llorente & Cuenca has secured €6.35 million in funding from French private equity firm MBO Partenaires, which has taken a 22 percent stake in the Spanish firm, which has extensive operations in Latin America.
The investment, which has already been disbursed, will be used to accelerate Llorente & Cuenca’s strategy of growth by acquisition in Latin America, Spain and Portugal, both to enter new markets as well as to reinforce its leadership in those countries where L&C already has a presence.
L&C currently employs 350 people in its own offices in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Spain, Mexico, Miami, Panama, Peru, Portugal, and the Dominican Republic. It has made several acquisitions in recent years, including Portuguese consultancy Imago, Chilean firm CR Comunicaciones, and corporate and financial specialist Hermes Consultores de Comunicación of Spain.
President and founding partner Jose Antonio Llorente says the firm expects to make acquisitions in Brazil and Spain later this year, and will also expand on its recently-opened US office in Miami.
“When we compare ourselves to our strongest competitors, what they have is access to capital or to the financial markets,” says Llorente. “We have done some acquisitions, but they have to be funded out of cash flow and that has limits.” He says the firm selected MBO Partenaires after talking with several potential partners because of its experience in the sector, its respect for the firm’s culture, and its willingness to take a minority stake in the company.
“It’s good for our sector that investors are interested in making this kind of commitment,” he says.
Llorente continues to hold 51 percent of the agency’s capital and the remaining professional partners also keep their original stakes. Juan Cuesta, MBO Partenaires’ partner, joins MBO Partenaires’s board of directors and partners’ committee.