Lehal sells ICG to Four Communications
Labour lobbyist strikes deal with Four Communications.
The Labour-led lobbying firm Insight Consulting Group has been acquired by the corporate PR and public affairs firm Four Communications Group.
ICG will now rebrand as Four Public Affairs and move into Four’s London Bridge headquarters. The 30-strong agency set up by John Lehal in 2006 will merge with Four’s existing 20-strong public affairs team which specialises in local government, regeneration, property and planning consultancy.
Lehal will become chief executive of the combined public affairs businesses, while current Four public affairs managing director Karen Alcock is leaving the firm. It is understood that Alcock does not have a new post lined up but sources insisted her departure was unrelated to the deal.
Sources at Four are also claiming that the combined team will be the UK’s largest public affairs agency. Combined fee billing for ICG and Four’s Public Affairs practice will be more than £5.5 million. This acquisition should take Four’s overall agency fee income to some £33 million in 2017, said a spokesperson.
ICG now boasts 30 staff and a fee income in 2016 in the region of £3.5 million. The agency’s clients include Bristol-Myers Squibb, Learning Disability Voices, Local Government Association, Novartis, Paddy Power-Betfair, Pfizer and Time Inc.
Lehal is a former Labour parliamentary candidate who recently served as campaign director for both Andy Burnham and Owen Smith in their bids to become Labour leader.
The new arrangement will see Lehal sit on the operating board of Four Communications Group. Sarah Jones, currently a director at ICG, and Ralph Scott, practice director at Four, will become deputy MDs of the new combined structure after a transition period when ICG moves to Four’s premises.
Four Communications Group chief executive Nan Williams said: “ICG is the perfect fit for us. We have been looking for a strong Westminster public affairs agency for a while to complement our existing team which specialises in local government and planning work. Together we will have a very strong offering in what we believe will be the largest PA agency in the UK.
"Over the last few years we have also been building a healthcare business through strategic acquisitions. ICG’s strength in this area means we can offer a third crucial service to this market which is increasingly becoming integrated.”
Lehal said: “Insight was established to create innovative campaigns with a purpose and we’ve worked for some of the UK’s leading businesses, charities and pressure groups over the last decade. Our significant growth in revenue and staff numbers has shown that we are not a company that likes to stand still, which is why I am thrilled to be continuing our evolution as part of the Four Communications Group.”
“As MD of Insight, I felt a strong sense of responsibility to find a partner agency that provides the best possible fit for our staff and clients. Four is an ambitious agency and we are very excited about what we can achieve together as the UK’s biggest Public Affairs consultancy team. With organisations facing considerable political uncertainty and regulatory risks in the years ahead, we look forward to working with new and existing clients to build their political reputation, maximise commercial opportunities and create compelling campaigns.”