MSQ Partners

NVM Private Equity (NVM) has supported the further development of MSQ Partners’ (MSQ) management buy-out with £7.8 million of funding. MSQ is an international, employee-owned group of creative agencies working for many of the world’s leading and emerging brands. The investment will enable the management team to continue to grow the business organically and increase its global presence.

London based MSQ currently operates seven creative agencies,Holmes & Marchant, Illuminas, Smarts, Stack, Stein IAS, The Gate and twentysix, from 15 offices globally. The group currently has 650 employees offering a broad range of marketing communications for consumer and B2B businesses such as advertising, public relations, design, brand strategy, direct and digital marketing and research. Each agency is a well-recognised expert in its own field, with its own leadership and distinct personality. Clients include Aviva, BP Castrol, Diageo, Peugeot, PwC, Unilever, Vodafone and Volvo.

The global marketing communications sector has seen a strong return to growth. Marketing spend is closely linked with the economic cycle, so the increase in confidence across all industry sectors has resulted in the largest recorded increase to marketing budgets in 2013.

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.

Peter Reid, Group CEO of MSQ Partners, said: “We believe, in NVM, we’ve found the perfect partner for MSQ and we’re really excited about working with them on the next stage of the Group’s development. We share a common vision for the Group and this investment provides a great platform for growth across all of our agencies.”

David Rolfe, Investment Director of NVM Private Equity, said“MSQ has a strong portfolio of agencies, with quality leadership, that operate across different geographies, sectors and specialist areas of marketing communications. We’re delighted to be given the opportunity to invest in a portfolio of fast-growing global agencies at a point in the economic cycle when spending on marketing is forecast to increase. MSQ has a strong and experienced senior management team overseeing the Group, and we’re pleased to be able to support their growth strategy.”

Notes To Editors

Aon (Insurance due diligence) – John Donald
BDO (Financial due diligence) – Mark Bomer, Jonathan Brierley, Gautam Mistry
Browne Jacobson (Management & company lawyers) – Gavin Cummings, Mike Jackson
CIL (Commercial due diligence) – Alex Marshall, Richard Hughes
Continuum (Management due diligence) – Steve Wycherley
Dickson Minto(Vendor lawyers) – Alasdair Proudfoot, Ronald Mosedale
Osborne Clarke (Newco lawyers) – Mark Spinner, Jeff Chang, Rebecca Scott
Pinsent Masons (RBS’ Newco bank advisors) – Vanessa Heap
Trillium (Corporate finance advisors) – Hugo Montgomery, Andrew Zelouf


MSQ Partners is a leading, UK-based marketing communications Group. It operates seven agency brands, from 15 worldwide offices, spanning the fields of advertising, public relations, design, brand strategy, direct and digital marketing and research. The Group has approximately 650 employees and a turnover and fee income, respectively, of approximately £100 million and £50 million.

NVM Private Equity is independently owned with nearly 30 years’ experience of investing in unquoted UK businesses. NVM is a generalist investor, managing over £290 million of funds, and is differentiated by having executives living and working in regional business communities throughout the UK. NVM seeks investment opportunities in UK businesses which have the right mix of growth potential and market vision. They may be looking to grow organically, acquire another business or secure a management buy-out. Typically, NVM looks to invest between £2 million and £10 million in each transaction.


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