Porta Makes £6m Swoop For UK's PPS Group
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Porta Makes £6m Swoop For UK's PPS Group

Public affairs firm to merge with Newgate.

Holmes Report

LONDON—Porta Communications has acquired PPS Group and will merge the public affairs consultancy with Newgate Communications. 

According to Porta, which launched as a marcomms holding group in 2011, the PPS purchase  is worth £6.2m in a mixture of shares and cash, subject to a three-year earn-out.

PPS has 45 staff across London, Manchester, Bristol, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Cardiff. For its most recent fiscal year, the firm produced fee income of £4,647,299, with profits before tax of £706,277.   

PPS managing director, Stephen Byfield will become head of Newgate’s public affairs practice in London and Brussels working with Newgate’s managing partner, Deborah Saw. The new, combined business will employ 82 people in the UK.  

“PPS has been independent for nearly 25 years," said Byfield. "We have achieved great things in that time but an injection of fresh capital and thinking is just what we need to foster our growth and innovation."

Newgate CEO Deborah Saw told the Holmes Report that PPS would retain its name to begin with, although an eventual rebranding "might make sense".

"It has great value in the marketplace," she said. "PPS was the first firm doing planning and consultation work and in that market has the best name recognition. When we pitch together, as we will, it might be sensible to pitch as Newgate–PPS."

PPS is best known for focusing on reputation management, community engagement and political consensus building, particularly when it comes to major infrastructure and complex property development projects.

 “It has always been our strategy to build by way of acquisition particularly in areas where we see opportunities for faster growth," said Porta CEO David Wright. "PPS has a proven track record in community engagement, coalition building and stakeholder communications which will combine well with Newgate’s corporate reputation management approach.”  

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