Holmes Report 24 Jan 2017 // 11:44AM GMT
LONDON—Four Communications Group has acquired public affairs and corporate communications agency Insight Consulting Group, a 30-person agency specialising in public policy advice for organisations and trade bodies in the healthcare, entertainment, professional services and third sectors.
ICG will rebrand as Four Public Affairs and will merge with Four’s existing 20-strong public affairs team which specialises in the complementary areas of local government, regeneration, property and planning consultancy. Combined fee billing for ICG and Four’s public affairs practice will be more than £5.5 million and the acquisition should take Four’s overall fee income to £33 million in 2017.
ICG was founded by John Lehal (pictured)—a former parliamentary candidate and campaign director for both Andy Burnham and Owen Smith in their bids to become Labour leader—in 2006. Clients include Bristol-Myers Squibb, Learning Disability Voices, Local Government Association, Novartis, Paddy Power-Betfair, Pfizer and Time Inc.
Lehal will become chief executive of the combined public affairs businesses and will sit on the operating board of Four Communications Group. Sarah Jones, currently a director at ICG and Ralph Scott, practice director at Four, will become deputy MDs of the new offer. Current Four public affairs managing director, Karen Alcock, is leaving the firm.
According to Nan Williams, Four Communications Group chief executive, “We have been looking for a strong Westminster public affairs agency for a while to complement our existing team which specialises in local government and planning work. Over the last few years we have also been building a healthcare business through strategic acquisitions. ICG’s strength in this area means we can offer a third crucial service to this market which is increasingly becoming integrated.”
This acquisition is the sixth since Four secured a £10m investment of equity finance from BGF (Business Growth Fund) in 2015.