LONDON — European public affairs firm Interel has been acquired by Dentons Global Advisors (DGA), a new advisory firm set up last month with a minority stake from Dentons, the world’s biggest law firm.

The acquisition of Interel – named as PRovoke Media’s EMEA public affairs agency of the year for 2021 – marks a rapid expansion of Dentons Global Advisors’ global lobbying capability after buying public affairs consultancy Albright Stonebridge Group at start-up: it now has more than 225 professionals across 10 offices in eight countries.

After the deal is completed on 31 July, Interel, which has 100 staff across offices in Berlin, Brussels, London and Paris, as well as a presence in New Delhi, will be known as Dentons Global Advisors Interel. Albright Stonebridge Group is now known as Dentons Global Advisors ASG. 

All Interel senior leaders will continue as part of Dentons Global Advisors and the business will continue to be managed by Grégoire Poisson as CEO and Geoffrey Ghyoot as COO, who took over the helm in 2019 and had grown the firm to €13.5 million in annual fees.

Poisson and Ghyoot will report to Deborah Scott, Dentons Global Advisors’ first head of EMEA, who left FTI Consulting last year after 21 years with the firm, latterly as UK deputy head of strategic communications.

Scott (pictured, left) told PRovoke Media: “The team we’re pulling together is really exciting. Our ambition is to be a leading player who can do integrated advisory for clients and be a truly first rate firm for corporate clients and staff on a global platform. We were looking for a European firm to partner with and Interel has a great reputation and there is alignment on culture and values. The existing advisory firms have grown up with their historic backgrounds, and we have a clean slate to start something really different, so we were very pleased when Interel agreed to be part of that journey.”

She added that the firm would be looking to grow quickly, both through acquisition and organically: “We’re quite clear – we have the funding to move forward quickly and we want to scale, fast. We’ll do so carefully to put the right blocks in place, and we’ll be making some very senior hires in London and New York to be announced later this year. We already have a global platform but we’ll be looking at geography – Africa is an interesting market – and we’re starting with strategic communications and public affairs but will also be looking at other areas.

Scott also said that although Denton's only had a minority stake in Dentons Global Advisors, “there’s more and more connectively between legal and what we do." She said the firm would be "focused on building out event-driven advisory, across capital markets, regulatory, public affair and crisis, that sits alongside a law firm but can be independent at the same time. The feedback we’ve had has been incredibly positive. The C-suite isn’t divided anymore: general counsel, corporate affairs and ESG are all interlinked and keeping them separate doesn’t make any sense.”

At Interel, Poisson (pictured, right) told PRovoke Media: “In terms of the next platform for our growth, it’s really about the right positioning as strategic advisors, especially when it comes to the mix of disciplines needed by clients and where we can add value. It’s not just about public affairs by itself anymore: with DGA we can do everything, which is very powerful. For us it was intentional: we chose to join because it meets our ambition, vision and culture – those things are very important to us and we want to do great things together.”

Dentons Global Advisors CEO Edward Reilly, who was also at FTI Consulting in New York for 14 years until joining Dentons as a senior advisor in 2019, said the new firm was “moving boldly, but strategically, in building a leading advisory firm that is breaking the mold in many respects…I am confident Dentons Global Advisors will continue to distinguish ourselves as we continue to grow and forge our own path.”