LONDON — M&A advisory firm PCB Partners has appointed Frank co-founder Andrew Bloch to its advisory board, after seeing increased interest in sales and acquisitions of marketing and creative agencies.

Bloch, who stepped back from his day-to-day managing partner role at Frank in May to become a non-executive director at the agency, will advise PCB Partners’ buy-side clients, including management consultancies, holding groups and larger agencies looking for strategic acquisitions.

On the sell-side of the business, he will advise digital, content, marketing services, creative and PR agency leaders looking to exit.

Bloch told PRovoke: “PCB Partners wanted someone who could talk agencies through the pros and cons of selling, from the heart. They also wanted the point of view of someone who has already done it successfully while relatively young – for the founders of Frank to still be in the business 13 years after we sold it is extremely rare.”

Frank co-founders Bloch and Graham Goodkind – who also stepped back into a non-exec chairman role in 2018 – sold the firm they founded in 2000 to Australian-headquartered Enero Group in 2007. Enero also owns global technology agency Hotwire.

Bloch also said that despite the Covid-19 slowdown, there was a surprising amount of interest and activity in the marketing services sector, both buy-side and sell-side. He told PRovoke: “The big agency networks are going to have to deliver shareholder value and acquisition is a key way of getting back to pre-Covid performance and growth levels.”

He added: “At the same time, agencies are evolving and what clients are looking for from their agencies is evolving: pure-play PR isn’t enough and while you can build other functions with key hires, a quicker route is through strategic acquisition.

"The market is ripe for this and it’s an exciting time. Periods of instability require agency leaders to think differently and evolve business models and how they want to come out the other side, whether they are focused on survival, or pursuing ambitious growth to set themselves up for the next decade.”

PCB Partners focuses on technology, digital transformation and management consulting, as well as creative and marketing services businesses. It was founded in 2018 by Ben Doltis – founder of digital and management consulting executive search firm SJB Group, which he sold to Manpower – and Tim Farazmand, formerly managing director of LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Bank.

Doltis said: “Andrew is a great addition to the PCB Partners’ team. Tim and I are delighted he has come on board. He brings unique skills and experience which will really help us with all areas of our business. Andrew is highly respected in his industry and has been there, done it and worn the t-shirt. That experience is invaluable to our clients and I’m excited to be working with him and for the future of our firm.”

Since stepping back from Frank, Bloch has also joined The Prince's Trust as a Business Mentor sitting on their Business Launch Group panel and the advisory board of Israeli PR technology company Propel, and continues to represent Lord Sugar and his associated companies.