South: NVM exits from MSQ Partners in MBO supported by LDC

NVM Private Equity (NVM) has fully realised its investment in international marketing communications group MSQ Partners (MSQ) following a £37.5 million management buyout by LDC, providing NVM funds with a 2.7x return. NVM first supported MSQ Partners with a £7.8m investment in July 2014.

MSQ Partners is a multi-disciplinary group of digital, marketing and creative agencies that specialises in marketing communications for consumer and B2B brands. The group, which includes Holmes & Marchant (branding & design), Smarts Communicate (PR and content), Stack (customer activation and engagement), Stein IAS (B2B marketing), The Gate (creative and media) and twentysix (digital), employs more than 600 people with offices in the UK, Asia and USA.

Under the leadership of co-founder and CEO Peter Reid, MSQ Partners has grown rapidly and today supports an international client base which includes blue-chip and household names such as PSA Groupe, Diageo and Unilever.

With LDC’s support, Reid and his existing management team will build on the momentum they have created by further investing in talent and services to expand and develop the group’s capabilities. This will be organically and potentially through acquisition, to drive further international growth and help the group to consolidate its market-leading position in delivering effective multi-channel campaigns.

David Rolfe, partner at NVM, said: “It has been a pleasure working with the MSQ management team and the individual agencies over the last five years. The group has developed significantly during this time and is perfectly placed to embark on the next phase of their growth journey. I wish Pete and the team all the best.”

Peter Reid, CEO of MSQ Partners, said: “Our team has worked incredibly hard within their agencies and collectively to strengthen and refine our client offering.  We maintain a laser-like focus on quality and creativity and with the on-going support of our employees, clients and NVM we have been able to deliver double digit annual growth over the period. I would like to personally thank David and the rest of the NVM team for their invaluable support.”

John Clarke, investment director at LDC in Manchester, said: “Peter and the team at MSQ have built a truly formidable business that is able to provide full-service, marketing communications services on an international scale. The business retains its independence, agility and a culture that continues to attract some of the best talent in the market. It is this combination that continues to drive MSQ’s growth and we’re looking forward to partnering with the team as we support them with our expertise and significant investment on the next phase of their journey.”

NVM was provided with legal advice by Browne Jacobson (Gareth Davies) and corporate finance advice from GP Bullhound (Simon Nicholls).