May 11, 2017 – The wave of merger and acquisition activity among executive search firms overseas continues. The latest deal: U.K.-based executive search firm Hydrogen Group has acquired Argyll Scott for £3.3 million. Together, the combined firms will deliver recruitment services across multiple functions, industries and countries.
The acquisition allows Hydrogen to accelerate international growth plans and benefit from greater strength and depth in the London market. It also enables Hydrogen to further grow and expand its APAC footprint.
Since its founding in 2009, Argyll Scott has grown to 96 staff members operating from offices in London, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok. It recruits for contract, interim and permanent middle management positions across key business functions, including accounting & finance, business transformation, marketing, sales and technology across APAC and EMEA.
Argyll Scott CEO John Hunter will join the board of Hydrogen as an executive director and will be responsible for further developing the firm in APAC and the U.S. “I look forward to welcoming Argyll Scott to Hydrogen,” said Ian Temple, CEO of Hydrogen. “Both Hydrogen and Argyll Scott had underlying growth in 2016. This merger takes us up to 350 staff globally with 100 consultants in APAC, making us a strong force in that region.”
“John Hunter and I have known each other a long time, and we’ve recognized lots of cultural similarities between our two companies,” Mr. Temple said. “Together, we can take advantage of the real opportunity that exists in the recruitment market and add better value to our clients, candidates and staff.” By joining the Hydrogen Group, Argyll Scott will be able to accelerate its growth plans, access the fast growing APAC contract market and offer greater career opportunities for its people, said Mr. Hunter.
In January, Argyll Scott acquired the Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur based operations of Reed Specialist Recruitment Group, further broadening its footprint in the APAC market and increasing its headcount to 129. “By bringing these companies into the Argyll Scott fold, our enlarged business will immediately attain a market leading position in our hub offices in Hong Kong and Singapore,” said Mr. Hunter at the time. “This will not only facilitate further growth in these offices but will also enable the enlarged group to accelerate plans to open new offices in other key commercial centers across the region.”
Hydrogen was established in 2005 by the merger of Partners Group Limited and PRO Limited. The firm provides recruitment services for permanent and contract mandates in respect of positions which are available primarily for mid- to senior-level staff members across both types of roles. Its specialties include technology, finance, energy, legal, life sciences and business transformation.
Growing U.K. M&A Activity
As the fallout from Brexit deepens, M&A activity has stepped up among executive search firms in the U.K. as well as outside of Europe.
Recently, Walter James acquired Euromedica Executive Search Limited. Walter James operates in the life sciences sector with a focus on global enabling units. The acquisition positions the firm to offer end-to-end specialist service across the entire life sciences value chain.
In April, legal executive search firm Piper Pritchard acquired executive recruiters Helix Associates. The combined business will offer a seamless fee-earner recruitment service to law firm clients across the U.K. It will provide non-legal professionals across all functions, and interim legal and non-legal professionals to support its clients’ evolving demands.
At the end of 2016, London-based Hanover Search Group (HSG) acquired Opus Executive Search of Los Angeles, which will be headed by Antony Pitt as U.S. managing director. Opus has experience in the U.S. wealth management sector and will operate from both east and west coasts. The newly merged operation is expected to benefit not only from Pitt’s knowledge within the wealth management market, but also from the additional scale, infrastructure and global reach of HSG.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media