WPP today announces that leading global investment firm KKR has made a growth investment in FGS Global, the strategic advisory and communications consultancy in which WPP is a majority shareholder.
FGS Global has 1,300 experts around the world advising clients in navigating complex situations and reputational challenges. It was created through the combination of leading strategic communications and public affairs firms Finsbury, The Glover Park Group, Hering Schuppener and Sard Verbinnen & Co.
FGS Global is a leading company in financial communications globally and was recently ranked the number one global PR firm for deal count and value by Mergermarket, having advised on 322 deals with a total value of over $657 billion in 2022. Its advisory services span all aspects of strategic communications, including corporate reputation, crisis management and government affairs. It operates from global offices in 27 cities around the world.
Following the investment from KKR, WPP will remain the majority owner of the company, and FGS Global employees will remain substantial shareholders. Golden Gate Capital, the private investment firm which has been a shareholder in FGS Global since 2016, will exit its investment through the sale of its interest to KKR.
The transaction values FGS Global at $1.425 billion. It is expected to close before the end of the third quarter of 2023, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
The strategic partnership with KKR – one of the world’s leading investment firms – will help to drive the continued growth of FGS Global, the innovation of its service offering and the expansion of its international footprint in the resilient and growing strategic advisory sector. KKR is making the investment in FGS Global primarily through its European Fund VI.
Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said: “FGS Global has established itself as a global leader in strategic advisory and communications, providing board-level counsel to the world’s leading companies and organisations. We are delighted to welcome KKR as a new strategic partner in FGS Global, in a transaction that recognises the tremendous value of the business and its potential for continued strong growth.”
Philipp Freise, Partner at KKR, said: “WPP and FGS Global have built an exceptional communications advisory firm. Stakeholder engagement is a boardroom issue and we are today establishing a powerful strategic partnership between WPP and KKR to support FGS Global as they continue on their path to building an industry-defining global business.”
Alex Geiser, Global CEO of FGS Global, said: “We are thrilled to be joined by KKR as a strategic partner on our journey to create the world leader in strategic advisory and communications. Our mission to help leaders lead in an increasingly complex stakeholder environment is timelier than ever. The fact that a global investor with the great sophistication and experience of KKR has joined WPP in seeing what we see in our people, the work we do for clients and our future is immensely motivating. We are grateful our clients and our employees will be the beneficiaries.”