Did Horn Group Receive Zero Dollars From Finn Partners In Acquisition?

Finn Partners

Finn Partners has at least 13 offices worldwide. You can find them in Chicago, Detroit, Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, San Francisco, Portland, and Washington DC in the U.S. In other countries you can find them in Jerusalem, London, Munich, and Paris. With more than 500 employees and a roster of great clients, in a few short years, they have grown to be one of the largest independent PR firms in the world.

Finn Partners offers help to clients in arts, creative, CSR and social impact, education, mobile, research, travel and lifestyle, tech, consumer, public affairs, crisis communications, health, digital, and practice sectors that combine any of those specialties listed.

Some of the clients represented by the agency include Diversified Trust, Carnegie Mellon University, DHL, Forbes, ExxonMobil, Hotels.com, Greater Ft. Lauderdale, and I Love New York. Their agency statement is simple – Amaze Every Day! Beyond the work they do for clients, they have set a goal within their various offices to become a “Best Place to Work” company. As many will tell you, that approach often does as much for the clients as for the employees.

They have been in expansion mode for the last couple of years and their latest acquisition is Horn Group, Inc, a technology PR firm which was billing approximately $8 Million at the time they were purchased.

Finn Partners Horn Group

A source in the know has informed Everything PR that Horn Group received absolutely zero dollars in up-front down-payment – consistent with the Finn Group acquisition strategy. How, you ask? Horn Group’s cash which allows day to day running of the firm? They pocketed that – as well as accounts receivable (as clients don’t pay on time.) Peter Finn, founder of Finn Partners, in comments below, confirms that “The payments made at closing on all acquisitions by Finn Partners have come from the cash flow of Finn Partners.

NOTE: Peter Finn also commented that “Since its launch in December 2011, Finn Partners has closed on 7 acquisitions. While every acquisition is different, in every case, the terms of our deals have been equal to or more attractive to the seller than the industry standard in the PR agency sector, and in every case, there is a payment at closing.” This may mean that in some deals Finn Partners did make a payment, contrary to other comments in this article.

If they didn’t do a deal with a firm, that money would never be “pocketable,” as a firm needs money to operate. It’s seemingly a win-win. Finn provides operating capital, Horn Group puts some of (their own) money in their pocket, and they both keep moving and benefit from the upside.

Finn Partners Logo

Finn Partners already had a vast array of tech experts staffing their locations globally. In fact, that is the largest sector of their firm. With the addition of Horn, they acquire expertise in big data services, consumer/IOT, enterprise cloud applications, security, storage, digital publishing, and mobile sectors.

Finn Partners opened following a split from Ruder Finn in 2011, and in 2015 projected $65 Million in revenues. In 2013, Finn acquired Widmeyer Communications, a Washington DC PR firm with public affairs and education expertise. In 2014, they brought in Gabbegroup with rich experience in health and higher education sectors. Gabbegroup was founded in 1980 by Jim Gabbe and Jill Gabbe, bringing nearly 35 years of experience to Finn Partners.

In late 2014, Finn acquired a London PR firm, Johnson King. JK was one of the largest independent B2B firms in Europe at the time with 20 employees and $3 million approximately in annual fees. Earlier in 2015, DVL Public Relations & Advertising and Seigenthaler Public Relations, Inc., two Nashville firms merged and were acquired by Finn Partners.

The merger of the two firms, now known as DVL Seigenthaler, a Finn Partners Company, became the largest PR firm in Tennessee.

Update on Expansion and Plans for Finn Partners:

Early in the summer of 2016, Finn Partners acquired Greenfield Belser, a digital branding firm headquartered in Washington DC and giving Finn Partners additional expertise in B2B brands.

At the end of summer 2016, Finn Partners and the Stagwell Group negotiated a sale of a minority interest in Finn Partners, allowing the CEO of Stagwell to become a member of Finn Partners’ board of directors. This sale does not impact the day-to-day workings of either firm, except for a separate joint venture between the two — Wye Communications — using people and resources from both entities with Stagwell holding the controlling interest in Wye.

The funds paid to Finn for the minority interest will be used for future expansion efforts. Though Finn is less than six years old, they have at least tripled in size since their founding. Finn Partners has grown very quickly and has been able to acquire firms without laying out much in funds. We are sure they will continue to grow.

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