Cicero buys up Westbourne in surprise £7m merger of top agencies
James Bethell has sold up to Iain Anderson for a seven figure sum.
Cicero Group has acquired Westbourne Communications in one of the biggest mergers of two UK public affairs agencies in recent years.
Cicero is buying up 100 per cent of the equity of Westbourne from founder James Bethell in an all cash transaction, it was announced on Tuesday morning. Sources indicated that there was a seven-figure sale price tag.
The merger will create the UK’s largest independent public affairs agency. The combined operation will employ around 55 people with a fee income of £7m. Cicero executive director Tom Frackowiak will lead the combined public policy offer.
Bethell’s team will move into Cicero’s office in the City of London by the end of July - but the Westbourne name is set to remain.
The merger means that Cicero’s strong financial and corporate public affairs offer will now be boosted by Westbourne’s expertise across transport, energy, housing and technology lobbying.
Anderson, founder and executive chairman at Cicero Group, said: “We set out ambitious plans for acquisition in the past year and we are delighted to be bringing Westbourne to Cicero. We have long respected Westbourne’s brilliant campaigning philosophy. The deal will strengthen our offer to clients and places Cicero as the UK’s leading independent public affairs agency.”
Bethell, CEO and founder of Westbourne, said: “We are big fans of Cicero and the team so I am super-excited that we are joining forces to become the largest independent Public Affairs player. Westbourne and Cicero are a perfect strategic fit and combines our different sector strengths under one roof. This enhances our offering to clients and brings new opportunities to develop and grow the business.”