LDC-backed MSQ Partners completes £20.6m public to private acquisition

2nd September 2020, 9:48 am

Follow-on funding from LDC supports continued buy and build strategy

The Manchester team at LDC, the leading mid-market private equity investor, has provided £6million of follow on funding to enable portfolio company MSQ Partners’ acquisition of the Be Heard Partnership.

The transaction confirms Be Heard’s delisting from the London Stock Exchange (AIM) at an enterprise value of £20.6million. It creates a combined global workforce of 785 people and is part of MSQ’s ambitious buy and build strategy, designed to enhance its multi-disciplinary capabilities, particularly in tech and data analytics.

The combined group now blends the expertise of Be Heard’s agencies MMT Digital, Freemavens and Agenda21, which specialise in digital transformation, data and insight and digital media respectively, with MSQ’s branding and design agency Holmes & Marchant, PR and content agency Smarts, engagement experts Stack, B2B marketing agency Stein IAS, creative specialists The Gate, and digital agency twentysix.

The group’s client list includes leading brands such as Vodafone, Unilever, GSK, and Nestlé.

MSQ originally partnered with LDC in May 2019, in a deal that valued the business at around £37.5million. With LDC’s support, CEO Peter Reid and his management team are working to invest in new talent and services to expand the group’s capabilities.

Pete Reid, CEO and Founder of MSQ, commented: “It’s an exciting time in MSQ’s development, not least transacting a deal and integrating two groups in the virtual, and often challenging environment, that we are currently operating in. We value LDC’s support, including that of our buy and build strategy, and we’re excited about the scale of opportunities already arising from the acquisition.”

John Clarke, Investment Director at LDC in Manchester, said: “This acquisition not only significantly enhances MSQ’s already impressive position, but expands its range of services to provide a truly integrated, multi-disciplinary offering for its clients. It marks a key step in a long-term growth strategy that will help attract the very best industry talent and cement MSQ’s market-leading position.”

LDC is committed to backing the UK’s most ambitious management teams and supporting their growth strategies, having delivered 25 new deals and  bolt ons so far in 2020.

Zeus Capital provided integrated corporate finance, takeover code and debt advisory services to MSQ. Headed by corporate finance director Richard Darlington, the team comprised Dan Bate, Ed Stevenson, James Edis and Constantin Bounas.

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