Acquisitions Continue to Make Headlines In Recruiting Industry

M&A activity among executive search firms has picked up in recent months, from the Far East to Canada, the Americas and across the U.K. & Europe. Here's the latest deal among two U.S.-based recruitment providers.

May 22, 2017 – The wave of M&A activity among executive search firms continues. The latest deal: Solon, OH-headquartered Torch Group has acquired Selker Leadership, a search firm that places candidates in the technology and software fields. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Selker Leadership’s president, Gregory L. Selker, will join Torch Group as senior vice president and search operations leader, overseeing the firm’s search practice, including research and candidate development.

With 26 years in executive search and leadership consulting, Mr. Selker’s recruiting career has largely focused on technology companies, from software developers and hardware manufacturers to service providers and infrastructure companies. They have ranged from small venture-capital backed start-ups to large multinationals for board and executive management level assignments. He has also worked extensively with IT organizations and placed chief information officers in multiple industries, across varied economic sectors.

Prior to heading Selker Leadership, Mr. Selker held a partnership position in CTPartners, where he led the firm’s technology, venture-capital, and private equity practices.

“Torch Group saw tremendous growth in 2016, and we have every reason to expect that will continue unabated through 2017,” said Ronald S. Torch, president and CEO. “Our planned increase in both new clients and search assignments in our key practice areas of food service, consumer/retail and B2B manufacturing has led us to acquire Selker Leadership and appoint Greg to manage our search operations. Our values and Greg’s are really aligned. Plus, our skill sets are truly complementary. I am eager to see where this acquisition takes Torch Group.”

Torch Group is a boutique executive search firm that focuses on recruiting senior, executive, and C-level marketing, communications, sales and product management talent. The firm has experience in the foodservice, food & beverage, consumer products, building materials, software, technology and industrial manufacturing markets.

Prosperity Found Among Recruiting Boutiques That Merge
One look at this year’s recruiting industry statistics reveals one clear trend line: double digit growth and expansion is taking place among the sector’s boutique specialists. Many of the firms have taken the more bold and audacious M&A route to achieve this.

Recent M&A activity

Executive search firms have seen a rise in M&A activity in other sectors as well. In fact, activity seems heightened across the board. Whether this points to mass consolidation or just smart joint venturing still remains to be seen.

Search firm Buffkin / Baker recently merged New York-based WTW Associates into its expanding executive recruiting platform. WTW, a talent provider focused on the media, entertainment, technology and law industries, will integrate its operations into the Buffkin / Baker New York office. Mr. Wasp becomes a partner in the firm, and will head its entertainment/media practice. He has extensive contacts within the entertainment and media industry in New York, Los Angeles and London. In March, Buffkin / Baker also 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.“We have been in growth mode this year, and I am thrilled to have my longtime colleague, Tom Truitt and MusicRowSearch join our firm,” said managing partner Craig Buffkin. “This partnership allows us to leverage two of the top industries in the Nashville landscape — healthcare and the entertainment business. This will open the door to exciting new horizons for our companies.”

Earlier this month, U.K.-based executive search firm Hydrogen Group 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. Argyll Scott also recently 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.

Walter James recently 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.

RSR Partners began the year with the acquisition of 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.

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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