London, 6 October 2015: Independent integrated communications agency, Four Communications Group (Four), has acquired the Welsh market leading PR and design agency, Francis Balsom Associates Ltd (known as FBA). Four has acquired 100 per cent of the equity. The two companies already work together in a consortium called Four Cymru and this will be the trading name going forward for all work in Wales.
This acquisition is the second announced by Four since it successfully secured a £10 million investment of equity finance from BGF (Business Growth Fund), the UK’s most active provider of growth capital to small and mid-sized businesses. As part of the investment, Four also secured an additional debt facility from HSBC. Last month Four acquired financial & professional services agency Broadgate Mainland and earlier this year it acquired healthcare media planning & buying agency MSA Media. Previous acquisitions have included Consolidated PR, Colman Getty, bgb and Kinross+Render which are all now successfully integrated into the group. The company continues to explore further acquisitions.
Founded in 1989, FBA will now join Four Communications’ existing public relations, public affairs, digital & design, sponsorship and media planning & buying practices. Currently FBA/Four Cymru’s annual fee income is in excess of £1 million. The agency which has a staff of 16 will continue to be led by managing director Meilyr Ceredig and he will join the practice board of the group. Founder and chair Sue Balsom will continue to be a consultant to the agency. Four has a total fee income of some £20 million and more than 250 staff.
FBA boasts an enviable client list including Welsh Government contracts for food promotion, tourism, education, health and social behaviour programmes. Other clients include Universities Wales, Ceredigion Council, Food Innovation Wales, Lantra, Christian Aid, Rachel’s Organic, Visit Wales and Fork2Fork. The company also created and manages the annual Welsh Politician of the Year awards with ITV Wales and provides pro bono support to the Cambrian Mountains Farmers Initiative whose patron is HRH The Prince of Wales.
The acquisition of FBA strengthens Four’s UK offering to include both devolved nations of Wales and Scotland where legislation, policies and systems are increasingly divergent. As such FBA’s team brings an in-depth understanding of Wales that will add value to Four’s other specialist teams in property, financial services, public sector, sports, travel & transport. Two of Four’s founders Nan Williams and Einir Williams are Welsh and hail from Llanidloes in Mid Wales.
Four Communications Group chief executive Nan Williams said:
“The acquisition of FBA is the third acquisition this year for the Four Communications Group. As well as our phenomenal organic growth since 2001, we are committed to an intelligent acquisition programme of top notch independent companies which are leaders in their field. The energy, heritage and passion of FBA makes it one of the most impressive independent consultancies in Wales today. We are proud that it will become part of our Four family and thrilled to welcome the exceptional leaders of FBA management to our senior management team.
“Born and brought up in Wales, I am also particularly pleased to be able to invest in Wales and see major opportunities ahead for the Welsh creative economy.”
Meilyr Ceredig , managing director of FBA adds:
“We wanted to merge with Four because the people there have the same commitment to their clients and their people as we have at FBA. It also means that we can offer clients in Wales a wider UK and international reach with more sector specialisms.
“As Four Cymru, we will be able to provide both staff and clients with a much broader, deeper service. As part of an integrated, but still independent group, we can now offer more and new services like digital, advertising and media buying.”
For further information:
Nan Williams, Four Communications – tel: 07774 741 518 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meilyr Ceredig – tel: 07896 678 221 or email: email@example.com
Founded in 1989, FBA is Wales market leading PR, design, marketing and public affairs agency. The agency has a staff of 16 and currently FBA/Four Cymru’s annual fee income is in excess of £1 million. FBA boasts an enviable client list including Welsh Government contracts for food promotion, tourism, education, health and social behaviour programmes. Other clients include Universities Wales, Ceredigion Council, Food Innovation Wales, Lantra, Christian Aid, Rachel’s Organic, Visit Wales and Fork2Fork. The company also created and manages the annual Welsh Politician of the Year awards with ITV Wales and provides pro bono support to the Cambrian Mountains Farmers Initiative whose patron is HRH The Prince of Wales.
About Four Communications Group
Four is a leading integrated agency headquartered Four Communications Group with offices in London, Edinburgh, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The company employs over 250 staff and has over 600 clients including Etihad Airways, The Man Booker Prizes, Sotheby’s International Realty, InterContinental Hotels Group and American Express. Its key services include public relations, public affairs, marketing, sponsorship, digital & content & media buying with a particular focus on the property, travel, culture, healthcare, financial services and public sectors.
BGF (Business Growth Fund) is the UK’s most active provider of growth capital to small and mid-sized businesses having backed close to 100 entrepreneurs, with over £600 million of long-term capital, in four years. BGF’s team of over 70 investors, operating from eight regional offices in the UK, make initial investments of between £2m and £10m and then actively look to provide additional funding to support further growth. The investment provided is typically in the form of equity in return for a minority equity stake.
BGF is an independent company with capital of up to £2.5 billion, backed by five of the UK’s main banking groups - Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS, and Standard Chartered. BGF works closely with the banks and its investments often help to unlock bank debt for companies, but BGF is managed completely autonomously with a wholly independent management team.