The London flak trade comes of age

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The London flak trade comes of age

Camarco has been sold to US giant APCO in a deal announced this morning.

No price was given, but no one will argue if I say, about £20 million.

That’s of most significance to the three founders Geoffrey Pelham-Lane, Billy Clegg and Ed Gascoigne-Pees, who all came from FTI Consulting.

But Camarco is keen to stress that everyone at the firm gets an earn out.

Pelham-Lane said: “We have pursued the principle of employee ownership right from the start, and equity was widely distributed with every member of the Camarco team benefiting.”

Good for them. What else does it mean?

Well, it looks like the latest sign that the UK flak trade has come of age.

In January another American giant Teneo bought Tulchan for £70 million.

Founder CEOs of other UK PR firms must be getting twitchy and calling bankers.

What it also shows it that for clients, the world is increasingly global and that being a London-only operator has limits.

CEOs and companies need a resource that spans continents, a wider perspective on how different markets might react to what they say and do.

Brad Staples, the APCO chief executive, sees the deal as sign that what were once just straight PR firms are expanding their remit.

They intend to compete with big management consultancy firms, with EY and the rest, to offer much more than straight forward PR support.

From June 1, Camarco’s 40 plus people will join APCO’s 90 staff at offices in The Strand.

Staples tells me: “We will take all the clients and all the people. We want it all.”

How did the deal happen? “We came to each other. But we’ve been looking for a very long time.”

The Camarco staff are incentivised to stick around, so presumably they will. Over time the Camarco name is likely to fade into the background.

Brunswick, FGS Global and the rest just got some more serious competition.

Press release of the day

Interesting comments from BCL Solicitors on the hefty fine doled out to William Hill today for widespread and alarming failures

If you use criminal money to gamble, that counts as money laundering even if you lose the lot, says John Binns.

He adds: One of the companies didn’t check a customer’s source of funds when they staked over £275,000 and lost nearly £25,000. The net result of that was £250,000 which would have looked clean because an AML-regulated business paid it out.”

Stories that will keep rolling

1) Have Next sales topped £5 billion? How big could they one day get?

2) Has S4 Capital still got lingering accounting issues?

3) Will ChatGPT make us more productive or obsolete?

4) How badly has Ten Entertainment been hit by the squeeze on consumers?


Waiting for the tap on the shoulder

Tomorrow's Business

The London flak trade comes of age part II


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