April 14, 2017 – Legal executive search firm Piper Pritchard has acquired executive recruiters Helix Associates. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Helix Associates will rebrand to PP Associates and the combined business will offer a seamless fee earner recruitment service to law firm clients. It will provide non-legal professionals across all functions, and interim legal and non-legal professionals to support its clients’ evolving demands.
Helix Associates is also in the process of introducing Atalanta Legal Search, a global recruitment and search service which specializes in in-house legal appointments. Through its sister business, Finlay Gardener, Helix provides non-legal professionals across all functions, and interim legal and non-legal professionals to support its clients’ evolving demands.
Legal recruiting generally has been booming this year around the globe. According to Hunt Scanlon Media, lawyers employed by government agencies in the U.S. in particular have been on the move as a result of changes in government administrations. Employment of lawyers in America is projected to grow 10 percent through 2022. Demand for legal work is expected to be robust as individuals, businesses, and all levels of government require legal services in the U.S. and internationally as global economies expand.
Piper Pritchard and Finlay Gardener constitute The Helix Management Services Group (HMS), which focuses on the delivery of innovative, tactical and strategic solutions to its clients’ talent needs. With origins dating back to 1992, HMS has offices in London, Bristol, Amsterdam, and Munich. The group covers multiple industries – including law, financial and professional services, consumer, retail, TMT and charities – and over the course of the next year it plans to announce further expansions to its network.
Growing M&A Activity Among Recruiters
There has been quite a bit of M&A activity among executive search firms in recent months, whether in the legal space or in any other industry sector. There seems to be heightened activity everywhere. Whether this points to mass consolidation or just smart joint venturing remains to be seen. Here’s a look at just a recent sampling from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:
- Buffkin / Baker recently acquired Nashville, TN-based MusicRowSearch, an executive recruiting operation specializing in the entertainment industry, to expand its service lines and leverage future growth. MusicRowSearch retains its name under the Buffkin / Baker brand.
- RSR Partners acquired executive search firm Higdon Partners. Founded in 1986 by Hank Higdon, Higdon Partners focuses exclusively on providing executive search services to asset and wealth management clients, including institutional, mutual fund, and high-net-worth organizations, as well as hedge funds, fund of funds, plan sponsors, endowments and foundations, private equity firms, family offices, consulting firms, and government agencies.
- Talent solutions firm Vaco acquired Pivot Point Consulting based in Seattle and boutique executive search firm Greythorn in Bellevue, WA. The new acquisitions bring together more than 50 employees and 250 consultants across the nation.
- Hanover Search Group acquired Opus Executive Search of Los Angeles, which will operate under Antony Pitt as U.S. managing director. Opus has experience in the U.S. wealth management sector and will operate from both the East and West Coasts.
- DHR International acquired Calgary-based executive search firm BluEra. The deal brings more than a dozen new employees to DHR and its Chicago-based partner company Jobplex. Founded in 2008, BluEra focuses on executive search, team transformation and executive coaching. It serves a wide array of industries with a particular concentration on the renewables, power, oil & gas, retail, telecommunications, and information technology sectors.
- Diversified Search acquired San Francisco-based BioQuest, a recruiting boutique specialist serving healthcare innovators in the life sciences market. Under the terms of the agreement, BioQuest will operate as an independent, wholly-owned subsidiary within Diversified Search. With $37.5 million in annual fees prior to this acquisition, the deal with BioQuest will boost revenues at Diversified Search by about 10 percent and bring the firm’s consultant headcount to nearly 60.
- Options Group recently acquired Broadstreet Global, a financial services search and strategic consulting firm based in Sydney, Australia. Broadstreet Global specializes in search and consulting for a number of interrelated sectors, including investment banking, capital markets, structured products, alternative asset classes and insurance. Its client base includes some of the world’s largest financial institutions, regional banks, asset managers, insurers and selective boutiques.
- Heidrick & Struggles acquired JCA Group, a well-known London-based executive search advisory boutique. JCA Group is led by founding partners Jan Hall and Emma Fallon, and has 40 employees, including eight partners. The firm has been a leader in addressing gender disparity among boards, as a policy advocate and in placing women on boards in both non-executive and executive roles.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media