PARIS: Finn Partners has acquired Medical & Health Consulting, a Paris-based independent health and biopharma consultancy.

Discussions about an acquisition began last year, and the deal was inked last Thursday after informal connections between the agencies for some time. A Finn Partners representative declined to disclose financial terms of the deal.

According to a Finn Partners statement, Medical & Health Consulting represents biopharma, health technology and medical device companies and professional medical associations.

Peter Finn, founding partner of Finn Partners, said the deal means combined operations in Paris would double to $1 million for this year and would hit $10 million for all of Finn in Europe, including London, Paris and its German operations. 

The Medical & Health Consulting brand will be discontinued. Marie-Hélène Coste, its founding director, will become a senior partner in Finn Partners’ European health practice. She is reporting to both Chantal Bowman-Boyles, managing partner of Finn Europe, and Gil Bashe, managing partner, leading global health. 

Bashe said the agency expects to make at least one senior hire soon. Medical & Health Consulting was small and comprised of high-tier senior counselors, he added, and relied on a network including freelancers, employing five to seven people at any one time.

Bashe said the two groups will operate from separate offices temporarily and meet as needed. Finn Partners is outgrowing its Paris office, he added, and searching for a new location.

Peter Finn described the acquisition as “the first step for us in expanding our health practice in Europe, and there are other things we’re working on that related to expanding.” Those plans could include other acquisitions, he said, but likely not before the end of Q1 2020. 

Finn Partners has been busy with deals in the second half of this year. In November, it acquired London-based consumer PR specialist ZPR. Two months earlier, the agency bought New York-based healthcare PR firm Lazar Partners, with 22 staffers and $5 million in annual revenue. 

Finn Partners 2018 revenue grew 8% to $88.1 million last year, according to PRWeek’s Agency Business Report

Lest anyone view the MHC pickup solely through an M&A lens, Bashe dispelled that notion. Its latest acquisition, he said, should be viewed as a response to the convergence of health systems between the US and Europe.

As health systems mesh, agencies must shed their own siloed ways of working. Its “One Finn” strategy, he said, enables the firm to transfer IP from market to market, “and that is becoming more critical to us in healthcare.”

Take the US Democratic presidential debates, for instance, during which many of the candidates have floated ideas for changing the healthcare system, often via adaptations from overseas. As policymakers and clients begin to explore other successful working models, “We needed to bring in people who understand not just communications but health systems,” he said, adding, “The system is what guides the communications. A lot of what we do is tailored to what the policy dictates.”

The MHC buy is consistent with this mindset, he said. Its people bring client, policy, creative, brand and digital skills that are highly regarded in the Paris market. “There was a huge matchup on values,” said Bashe, and “a matchup between where they are in France and where we are as a practice.”

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