Maja Pawinska Sims 10 Jan 2023 // 11:05AM GMT
LONDON — Teneo, the strategic communications group owned by CVC, has bought UK financial communications specialist Tulchan Communications in a deal believed to be worth around £65 million.
The deal, which was signed late last night, will mean that the combined firm now provides strategic communications services to around 30% of the companies in the FTSE 100.
Under the terms of the deal, Tulchan founder Andrew Grant, who launched the business in London in 2000 after leaving Brunswick, and his senior bench will remain with the combined firm, bringing a total team of around 70 (in London and Singapore) to Teneo, with no redundancies. The move brings the headcount of Teneo’s strategic communications division in London to around 200 people.
Grant told PRovoke Media he had been looking to find a buyer for his firm for some months: “I started this process in the spring of last year as it had become increasingly clear that although we have a great market position in London, to retain that long term we also needed the US. I spoke to a number of parties and felt Teneo was the best fit – as well as America they have a really good, business in London with a broader offer of politics and corporate than us, so it made sense. I know Teneo UK CEO Nick Claydon well as we worked together many moons ago, and I like the new CEO Paul Keary very much, he’s a very smart guy.
“The thing that’s changing in our industry is that it’s all about capital and while I love being a plucky, independent founder-led business, that’s not the future, and we had to get ourselves onto a well-capitalised growth platform."
Under the terms of the deal, Grant will become chair of Teneo’s UK strategy and communications business and Andrew Feldman, Tulchan’s managing partner, will become vice chair.
Grant confirmed that he and his senior team would be staying with the firm, although he said he was sad to lose the Tulchan name: “I’ll be staying around for the foreseeable – Teneo have put in place a four-year incentive plan for myself, the partners and all directors. I’m relieved to get the deal done and excited about the future but it’s bitter sweet that the Tulchan chapter is coming to an end because I’ve loved it. But Teneo have made us feel very welcome and I hope I will learn how to be a good employee.”
The move comes after a string of reputational and personnel setbacks at Teneo over the past 18 months. In June 2021, CEO Declan Kelly resigned amid allegations that he inappropriately touched women while inebriated at a charity event the previous month, leading to co-founder Keary taking over the CEO role.
General Motors was among clients to cease working with the firm after news of Kelly’s behaviour surfaced, cancelling its $250,000-per-month contract with Teneo after news of Kelly’s behaviour surfaced.
Kelly’s resignation came six months after the third co-founder Doug Band had left the firm.