Porta acquires PPS

AIM-listed Porta Communications has acquired PPS Group, which specialises in pre-planning lobbying consultation and has six UK offices including Manchester, for £6.1m.

The sum paid for PPS will be in a mixture of shares and cash, with the shares subject to a 24 month lock-in period.

PPS has 45 staff operating in London, Manchester, Bristol, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Cardiff. In the year to 30 April 2014 PPS produced fee income of £4.6m, with profits before tax of £706,277. The Manchester office is headed by Rebecca Eatwell and employs 11 staff.

Commenting on the deal Porta Chief Executive, David Wright said: "It has always been our strategy to build by way of acquisition particularly in areas where we see opportunities for faster growth. PPS has a proven track record in community engagement, coalition building and stakeholder communications which will combine well with Newgate's corporate reputation management approach."

PPS managing director, Stephen Byfield, will become head of Newgate's public affairs practice in London and Brussels working with Newgate's managing partner, Deborah Saw. The new, combined business will employ 82 people in the UK.

Stephen Byfield said: "PPS has been independent for nearly 25 years. We have achieved great things in that time but an injection of fresh capital and thinking is just what we need to foster our growth and innovation. I like the people at Porta and Newgate and have been very impressed with their straightforward, open approach. I can't wait to get started in the new job."

Deborah Saw commented: "Newgate and PPS are very compatible businesses. We have a shared belief in integrated communications and the absolute need for companies to engage at the grassroots level. With PPS' strength in the regions and Scotland we are now very well-placed to capitalise on moves to devolve further powers to those areas. We will now be able to offer organisations a total communications approach which encompasses capital markets, corporate brand building and public affairs and regulatory locally, nationally and internationally."

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