Maja Pawinska Sims 11 Mar 2020 // 9:12AM GMT
PARIS — Havas has confirmed the acquisition of corporate communications and public affairs consultancy Cicero, after the agency joined its AMO global strategic advisory network earlier this year.
Cicero, which was founded in 2001, rebranded as Cicero/AMO at the time and moved into the Havas Village in London. The 70-strong agency will now fully integrate into AMO, working alongside Maitland/AMO, one of the network’s founder members, to provide public affairs, corporate communications, research and campaigns, investor relations and media relations across the UK and EU.
Cicero Group executive chairman Iain Anderson told PRovoke: “We turned ourselves into Britain’s biggest independent lobbying business on our own, and what we are already seeing — literally since the start of the year — is that we have a brand new pipeline of business coming from the network, which is hugely exciting.
“The strategic rationale from Havas is about super-charging their public affairs capability, in particular what we’re now doing together in Brussels, and the pan-European and global public affairs opportunities there. And, candidly, we launched the business with angel investors and it was an opportunity for them — and us as founders — to realise that investment.”
Anderson confirmed that he and CEO Jeremy Swan remained in post: “Nothing changes in terms of our management structure from a day-today point of view — we remain a business with our own balance sheet and the founders will retain a substantial share.”
On announcing that Havas had taken a majority stake in Cicero, AMO chairman Angus Maitland said: “This is part of a broad strategic move to develop AMO capability in public affairs and policy, as governments around the world are becoming more interventionist in corporate affairs, particularly around M&A and governance."
This was evidenced when AMO’s US partner Abernathy Macgregor, opened its government affairs office in Washington last year. Maitland said Cicero’s presence in London, Brussels and Dublin would complement AMO’s public affairs presence in France and Germany, led by Havas Paris/AMO and Deekeling Arndt/AMO respectively.
Swan added: “This is a key milestone in the Cicero story. The acquisition brings many benefits. We will be able to do even more for our clients, attract additional market-leading talent to complement our existing expertise and compete for mandates on a global stage. It’s been quite a ride over the last 20 years and with AMO as our new partner, think what we can do in the next 20.”
In June 2018, Cicero bought independent London public affairs agency Westbourne Communications to create a firm with a combined fee income of around £7 million.
AMO, which is part of Havas Group’s creative business division, is a network of corporate, financial and public affairs agencies, many of which are wholly-owned by Havas. Its members are based in London, Paris, New York, Washington, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Berlin, Stockholm, Zurich, Montreal, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, and Milan. In 2019, the AMO Network advised on 237 M&A deals with a value of $354 billion.
Yannick Bolloré, Havas Group chairman and CEO said: “Cicero’s entrepreneurial spirit and drive for excellence make them a natural fit within the Havas Group. The addition of Cicero to our AMO network reinforces our ability to develop best-in-class strategic advice to our clients in the UK and beyond."