U.K.-based Fishawack Group acquires Carling Group, to bolster U.S. presence
Didi Discar, (center right) principal, Carling, will report to Oliver Dennis, (center left) CEO, Fishawack Group.
The Fishawack Group of Companies, a medical communications firm based in Knutsford, U.K., acquired the Carling Group of Companies, which is comprised of creative agency Carling Communications and medical education shop MCME Global.
Terms of the deal, which closed Monday, were not disclosed.
Oliver Dennis, CEO of Fishawack, said the acquisition is meant to unite the firms' complementary capabilities — Carling with its creative chops and Fishawack's expertise in scientific communications. No layoffs are planned as a result of the deal.
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“As a medical communications group, we primarily work with pharma's medical affairs teams,” he said. “Probably 30% of our revenue comes from pharma marketing teams and we want to be able offer full service [capabilities] to our marketing clients.”
The appeal, too, stemmed from Fishawack's desire to further grow its U.S. presence, he added. “If you're going to be a global communications business, you have to have a U.S. strategy,” he added. “Although we're registered as a U.K. business, more than 50% of our work is done in the U.S.”
Carling isn't Fishawack's first foray into the U.S., however. The firm already has offices in Philadelphia and San Francisco. Didi Discar, principal of Carling, reports to Dennis and is retaining her current tile. Both companies under the Carling header will keep their current brands. Carling will also maintain its offices in San Diego and London.
Discar said Carling and Fishawack were already working with some of the same clients. “What we found when assessing this opportunity was that there are many clients where they are already engaged with a client's medical affairs team and we're working with their marketing teams,” she said.
Dennis chimed in. “We're both aimed at raising awareness in physician's minds on how medicines should be best utilized,” he said. “But we do it complementary ways — we can work with the same brands without cannibalizing each other's business.”
In January Fishawack received a $43 million investment from private equity company LDC in a management buyout, and that investment is being used by Fishawack to identify and make acquisitions. As a part of the same deal, Fishawack's previous owner, Growth Capital Partners, exited the firm. Growth Capital Partners had acquired Fishawack for $14 million in 2013.
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Carling Communications reported $13 million in revenue for 2016, according to MM&M's Agency Issue, which is an 8.3% increase over 2015's $12 million.