• SectorB2B Services
  • OverviewThe Group consists of seven agencies working from 15 offices globally. They offer a broad range of marketing communications for consumer and B2B businesses, such as advertising, public relations, design, brand strategy, direct digital marketing and research.
  • Value£7,800,000
  • CompletedMay 2019

Each creative agency is a well-recognised expert in its own field, with its own leadership and distinct personality.

Marketing spend is closely linked with the economic cycle. The increase in confidence across all industry sectors resulted in record levels of marketing spend in recent years, which we expect to continue in the foreseeable future.

Digital communications are now outstripping more traditional marketing practices, and businesses have a real desire to improve overall customer experience by investing in mobile content marketing, social media and data analytics. MSQ has a strong digital element running through all of its key agencies, so is perfectly placed to capitalise on this trend.

In addition, regions such as Asia Pacific are experiencing above average growth, so MSQ’s international footprint will allow the group to benefit from these market dynamics.

In May 2019 NVM fully realised its investment in MSQ following a £37.5 million management buy-out by LDC, providing NVM funds with a 2.7x return.

MSQ in numbers

  • £8m First backed
  • 2014 Exited
  • 2.7X Return

Operational Optimisation

MSQ is an international digitally rich marketing communications group consisting of:

  • B2B Marketing Agency (SteinIAS);
  • Digital Marketing Agency (twentysix);
  • Direct digital/CRM marketing agency (Stack);
  • Full service advertising agency (The Gate);
  • Brand design packaging agency (Holmes & Marchant) and
  • PR agency (Smarts).
  • Acquired from Lloyds on the back of a turnaround that still required further operational improvement
  • Successfully divested a non-core market research agency and acquired a US B2B agency.
  • Agency operating profit margins improved from 8% to 16% from 2014 to 2019.
  • The company improved the quality of each agency brand
  • Embedding digital capability across the unified MSQ micro network before a successful secondary buyout that enabled management to continue their journey.

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.

Peter Reid ,  CEO ,  MSQ Partners

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.

David Rolfe ,  Investment Partner ,  NVM