LONDON – US-based and London-listed public affairs & lobbying holding company, PPHC, is expanding to London, having acquired cross-party public affairs advisory business Pagefield for up to £30m.

Until now, PPHC’s nine operating companies have been solely US-based, although its 1,200-strong client base – including nearly half of the Fortune 100 – are global, including across the healthcare and pharmaceuticals, financial services, energy, technology, telecoms and transportation sectors.

PPHC has been targeting acquisitions in London and Brussels; Pagefield is the group’s fourth acquisition since its IPO in December 2021. The agency becomes the tenth brand under the Group’s umbrella, joining agencies that include Forbes Tate and Crossroads Strategies.

Pagefield was founded in 2010 by Mark Gallagher, Oliver Foster and Sara Price and has 36 full-time employees. Foster remains in post as CEO, while Gallagher and Price become senior advisors in the firm.

As with each of PPHC’s specialist member companies, Pagefield will operate independently as a wholly-owned subsidiary, maintaining its brand identity and remaining as an integrated, strategic campaigning consultancy.

For the year ended 31 December 2023, Pagefield reported revenue of £6.0 million, growing at an average of 10% for the past three years, and profit before tax of £2.3 million.

Foster (pictured) said: “When PPHC first approached us, it was immediately clear that there was a great deal of alignment in terms of our values as employers; the importance we attach to best-in-class client service and delivery; and our shared ambition to grow internationally.

“This next phase in Pagefield’s growth will open us up to a huge well of professional – and international – expertise. We are very excited about the opportunity and the benefits that this will bring to add further value to current, new and shared clients. Joining the PPHC family will give us access to the group’s broader network of specialists and many tools and resources across the US– especially on the east and west coasts. Pagefield will also serve as a critical anchor for PPHC’s further expansion into Europe, the Middle East and Africa.”

Gallagher added: “I am thrilled that we have found a terrific new home for Pagefield and our exceptional team – a prerequisite for the future of a company we founded some fourteen years ago. Today we are laying the foundation stone of what I have no doubt will be a transatlantic PR powerhouse. As founders of the business, Sara and I are also delighted to maintain our involvement in Pagefield and to have a stake in the future success of PPHC as a whole.”

The £30 million deal is split between initial consideration of £16.2 million, funded by £15.1 million cash and £1.1m shares, with the balance in potential earnout payments should Pagefield achieve profit targets through to 2028.

PPHC was the leading federal lobbying agency in the US in 2023, with its federal lobbying firms collectively reporting $68.3 million of disclosed revenue. In the year ended 31 December 2023, PPHC revenue increased 24.1% to $135m and underlying EBITDA increased 12.4% to $35.1 million.

In its statement, PPHC said he business would continue to pursue its strategy of delivering organic growth alongside M&A, and its pipeline of opportunities in the US, UK and Europe was strong.

PPHC Chief executive Stewart Hall said: “In Pagefield, we have acquired a high-quality business with outstanding people and a sought-after client base. Our clients are global by nature, present in multiple geographies and it is essential that we can support them wherever they operate.

“Pagefield stands to benefit greatly from our ability to cross refer business while our US-based operating companies will equally benefit from its expertise and deep familiarity with the UK’s political, business and media landscape. As a UK listed company, we welcome Pagefield into the PPHC Group and look forward to working with Pagefield as we deliver value for our shareholders.

“Finally, our pipeline of acquisition opportunities under development remains healthy and we retain a strong balance sheet which gives us the resources to continue to pursue our M&A strategy alongside organic growth.”