Corporate, financial and public affairs consultancy with M&A capabilities
Founded in 1994 by former Financial Times journalist Roland Rudd and Rupert Younger, formerly of The Economist and Brunswick, Finsbury has always focused on providing counsel to companies seeking to communicate with the financial community, providing both financial media communications and investor relations counsel. The firm differentiated itself with the pledge that its principals would limit themselves to working with a maximum of five clients apiece, an approach that means they can get to know their clients intimately and talk intelligently with reporters and analysts about every company in their portfolio.
Over the past few years, Finsbury has emerged as the primary challenger to the U.K.’s traditional M&A leaders Brunswick and Financial Dynamics. Last year, it ranked second in mergermarket’s U.K. deals league table (by value of transactions) and fourth in the European league table, and was named the most influential financial PR firm by City editors in a survey by The Independent. Through the first half of this year, it had dropped off that pace a little, but was still ranked fifth in the U.K. and Europe by value of deals and 10th in the U.K. by volume.
Among the most high-profile examples of the firm’s recent work: Fortune Brands’ joint acquisition of Allied Domecq with Pernod Ricard; Banco Santander Central’s proposed £8.5 billion acquisition of Abbey National; Bertelsmann for the merger of the BMG and Sony music divisions; the €8.6 billion listing of Belgacom on the Euronext exchange; and two international acquisitions for Vodafone. Other wins over the past 12 months include Friends Provident, Immarsat (for a listing on the London Stock exchange), and retailer Boots for financial communications in the wake of a profit warning and bid speculation.
The firm has a team of partners recruited from the worlds of media and finance: Faeth Birch worked in IR at Lloyd’s of London; Morgan Bone, who is responsible for the utilities sector, came from the European financial services practice of Price Waterhouse; Rollo Head joined from Weber Shandwick and previously worked at Lehman Brothers; James Murgatroyd was an investment banker at Dean Witter; and Edward Orlebar spent eight years as a financial journalist.
The firm has also expanded its operations to include public affairs counsel, hiring GJW regulatory expert Rory Chisholm to lead a practice that is strongest when it comes to competition issues but has also worked on transportation, energy and gambling policy issues, in the U.K. and European capitals. Recent assignments included work for the Daily Mail & General Trust and Punch Taverns in the U.K., and Pfizer and BMG in Europe.
Finsbury was acquired by WPP in 2001, giving it access to a vast international network of offices. It shares business with WPP’s U.S. strategic communications specialist Robinson Lerer Montgomery on occasion, and also has its own European public affairs network, Finsbury International Policy & Regulatory Advisors (FIPRA), which includes offices in 15 European capitals.