Maja Pawinska Sims 25 Oct 2022 // 8:00AM GMT
LONDON — Marketing and communications agency Clarity has added public affairs to its client offer with the acquisition of Political Intelligence UK for an undisclosed sum.
The agency has bought the 27-year-old independent public affairs consultancy’s UK business and operations. The consultancy’s teams in Belgium, Spain and Portugal will continue to operate under the Political Intelligence brand and will continue to have a working relationship with Clarity.
With the 21-strong UK team from Political Intelligence joining 93 Clarity staffers in London, the company’s global headcount is now 160. Political Intelligence founder and chairman Nicholas Lansman (pictured, left) and UK managing partner Philip Reid will join Clarity to head up the offering and expand the practice under the leadership of Rachel Gilley, president of global communications.
Clarity founder and CEO Sami McCabe told PRovoke Media that the deal would enable the agency to add a wider range of services, from government relations and campaign lobbying to stakeholder management, policy insights and research, as well as market access support.
“It’s an exciting deal for us, we’ve known them for a while and felt for some time that there is an opportunity at the intersection of the tech industry and policy – until now we’ve not had a good answer for our clients when they raise it and wanted to find a way to bring that capability into the group as part of a broader effort to have a robust toolkit.
“A lot of tech companies and big brands trying to leverage new technologies recognise that some of these innovations may require governmental buy-in to fully realise their potential, and without having influence in the room it’s difficult for us to make an impact. Particularly in the venture-backed, scale-up world, which is doing disruptive things and bringing some challenges that society and governments need to get comfortable with, and we want to be in a position to facilitate that conversation.”
McCabe added: “Nick and Phil are extremely experienced and seasoned operators and we clicked immediately. Cultural fit is a nebulous thing to evaluate but with every acquisition we spend a lot of time kicking the tyres. They’ve been co-pitching for business with the London team and we’ve been working together for several months so the relationships are established and the energy is really positive.”
Speaking of the move, Lansman said, “It's been quite the journey since setting up the company in London in 1995, to expanding the brand in other European markets, which continue to flourish. The acquisition of the UK business is the right one for this market, given both Clarity and Political Intelligence’s extensive tech heritage and our complementary skill sets.
“That fusion of comms and public affairs expertise is central to the work and reputation of the organisations we support both now and in the future. I’m hugely excited by the opportunities that this combined approach can provide and look forward to integrating our team with Sami, Rachel and the rest of Clarity, whilst continuing to collaborate closely with our friends and colleagues in the other Political Intelligence markets.”
The acquisition is Clarity’s third in the UK in the past 18 months: in May 2021 it bought digital, SEO and paid analytics agency 3WhiteHats and in May this year it acquired another digital agency, 93digital.
McCabe told PRovoke Media there were more agency acquisitions in the pipeline: “We have a bunch of acquisition plans in the coming months – we’re exploring APAC, Latin America, North America and Europe. The recent acquisitions of 3WhiteHats and 93digital have been transformative for us, and we’d like to double down on that and build out in other parts of the world through acquisition, including digital opportunities in North America and elsewhere. Comms is still at heart at what we do, and will be also be acquiring pure-play comms agencies in new markets as a launchpad to our ambitions of being an integrated global agency.”
Clarity’s current client roster includes wholesale marketplace Ankorstore, electric vehicle charging firm ChargePoint, children’s entertainment company Moonbug, collaborative technology provider Owl Labs and step counting app Sweatcoin, which converts steps into ‘currency’ to use on gadgets and sports and fitness equipment and services.