March 21, 2016 – Grace Blue, an executive search firm focused on the communications sector, and SI Partners, a global consultancy and M&A advisor, have formed a strategic alliance to advise companies in the creative communications and digital technology space on M&A and leadership.
Ian Priest, Grace Blue’s CEO, and Charles Fallon, a partner at SI Partners, will lead the effort jointly alongside senior industry figures in the U.S. and Asian markets.
Leveraging the respective parties’ expertise in human and financial capital, the partnership will help companies engaging in M&A evaluate culture, fit, vision, and motivations of prospects. In doing so, they hope to help increase the odds that their M&A deals will yield longer term value based on the intellectual and human capital they bring in.
“Culture fit has, in many respects, become the new mantra among executive search and talent management professionals looking for a new edge in what has been a relatively staid business for the past two to three decades,” said Scott A. Scanlon, founding chairman and CEO of Greenwich-based Hunt Scanlon Media. Executives report that the most widely used strategy to improve culture is “communications,” followed by “leadership development,” and “embedding culture change in management objectives,” according to one recent study.
“Within our industry, many new buyers are entering the frame from a variety of sectors and geographies, and they’re providing sellers with an increased range of options,” said Mr. Priest. “It’s creating an environment that demands expertise in understanding cultural fit to ensure sustainable success for both parties. SI Partners has been the leading M&A advisor in the creative communications and digital technology space for a long time and is ideally suited to partner with us in helping our industry’s buyers and sellers create synergy within this emerging marketplace, by carrying out due diligence both from a financial and people point of view,” he added.
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The alliance will also enable both firms to expand their global coverage to include London, New York, Singapore and Hong Kong. Further expansion is planned later this year. Within Grace Blue, a new specialty unit – Grace Blue Acquisitions – is being established to bring these services to market in order to fully leverage the partnership.
“In a post digital age, brands, media owners and creative businesses need experienced leadership that are proficient across the media, technology and consumer sectors,” said Mr. Fallon. “The competition for acquiring this talent – be it in the form of an individual or a business – has increased dramatically over the last several years.”
This shift in the marketplace, he said, means buyers and sellers require access to a deeper and more intimate understanding of C-suite creative and technology talent than ever before. “Grace Blue has a better handle on this talent than any other firm and is uniquely positioned to help leadership carry businesses into their next phase. We’re thrilled to partner with them,” he added.
As demand within the creative communications and technology space intensifies, Grace Blue and SI Partners plan to offer clients a combined set of insights and skill-sets when it comes to managing their acquisition options — be it executive search, mergers, start-ups, joint ventures, acqui-hires, management buyouts or full acquisitions.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media