There was a time when companies doing big deals could only go to a handful of companies for advice. But growing demand for advice on takeovers, activist investors and corporate crises has widened that scope and spurred the rapid creation of new companies.
The latest example is Collected Strategies, which is being started by several executives at communications firm Joel Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Catcher, along with Ed Hammond, a longtime mergers and acquisitions reporter for Bloomberg.
“Business news coverage, whether of transactions, high-profile crises or ongoing corporate activity, has evolved,” founding partner Mr. Hammond said in a statement. “Communication advice is also needed.”
The company is ushering in an era of high scrutiny of Wall Street’s activities. Investment firms have found themselves the center of anger from both liberal and conservative groups. While overall deal making has declined, it was the same last year busiest in four years For activist investors who take stakes in companies and demand change.
The growing need for advice may partly explain what has been driving the creation of new communications firms. Investors in those deals are also attracted by strong profit margins, given that the primary cost is people.
CVC Capital Partners bought a majority stake in advisory firm Teneo in 2019 in a deal that valued it at around $700 million. Two years later, the Brunswick Group sold a minority stake to the merchant bank BDT. That same year, WPP, the advertising giant, merged advisory firms Finsbury Glover Herring and Sarde Verbinen will form FGS Global. In April, private equity firm KKR picked up a stake in FGS Global, valuing it at around $1.4 billion.
Joel Frank is one of the last independent firms. It was founded in 2000 by Ms. Frank. It has since become a mainstay in deal-making, having opposed Hewlett-Packard’s merger with Compaq in 2001 and US Airways’ opposition to its merger with American Airlines in 2013. Hewlett Trust was advised.
Executives leaving Joel Frank include Scott Bisang, who last year advised Twitter on its sale to Elon Musk; Jim Golden, who advised banks First Republic and PacWest during the regional bank crisis earlier this year; and Judd Gorman, who was the firm’s chief operating officer.
Mr. Hammond Starr of Bloomberg follows a tradition of mergers-and-acquisitions journalists going into corporate advisory work. Steven Lippin, a longtime Wall Street Journal reporter who covered that beat, joined Brunswick Group in 2001 and launched his own practice as a Gladstone Place partner in 2017.