Four Communications Group (Four) has acquired the Welsh market leading PR and design agency Francis Balsom Associates Ltd (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.
Four Communications Group chief executive Nan Williams said the agency is “committed to an intelligent acquisition programme of top notch independent companies”.
“The energy, heritage and passion of FBA makes it one of the most impressive independent consultancies in Wales today,” she continued.
“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.”
FBA managing director Meilyr Ceredig added that the merger with Four was attractive 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,” he said.
“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.”