May 13, 2019 – Acquisitions continue to make news in the recruiting industry, with a number of notable purchases in recent months. Among them, HW Global Talent Partner acquired a controlling interest in Zebra People, a London-based digital recruitment agency founded in 2001 by Nick Cochrane. The deal creates a company with £16 million in revenue.
Zebra People specializes in hiring digital product teams, with typical roles including user experience and product design, full stack developers, product managers and delivery/project managers. The firm recruits for roles up to director level – both permanent and contract.
HW Global currently operates on an exclusive and retained basis in the £120K+ search market, also placing interims on daily rates from £700 to £2,000. The deal is the first in a series of planned acquisitions designed to enable the global executive search and interim firm to offer its clients an end-to-end talent solution in key functional areas of high growth, transformation and demand.
The Zebra People acquisition will enable HW Global to offer a comprehensive digital talent service to its clients, with HW appointing senior digital leaders and the Zebra People team building the critical capability that sits underneath.
Both HW Global and Zebra People will continue to trade under their existing brands, with a new holding company HWJ Holdings acting as the acquisition vehicle. The deal creates a £16m turnover business with the addition of 50 staff in London, Leeds and Manchester. HW Global’s CEO Spencer Jinks and chairman Paul Spetch will sit on the Zebra People board.
“HW Global and Zebra People complement each other in so many ways and once we were introduced to Nick and his team there was an instant meeting of minds, with the huge mutual benefit of our combined expertise obvious,” said Mr. Jinks. “Zebra People has a fantastic reputation for building diverse high caliber digital and UX teams, whilst sharing a desire to provide exceptional service to both clients and candidates alike. The partnership provides a fantastic platform to share expertise, whilst accelerating careers and skill set and attracting new talent to underpin our ambitious growth plans.”
Zebra People’s clients include Monzo, the Guardian, Which?, Eurostar, Just Eat, Aviva, Barclays, Lloyds and Global Radio alongside government agencies such as the Ministry of Justice, the Department of Work & Pensions and the Department for Education – as well as start-ups.
“Joining forces with HW Global will open up a wide range of opportunities for us both in the UK and internationally, while offering our clients the executive search service we had previously been unable to provide,” said Zebra People director Nick Cochrane. “The two businesses are undoubtedly an excellent cultural fit with a lot in common in terms of ways of working, ambition, innovation and how we value and invest in long term relationships with our clients and candidates.”
Recent M&A activity
Acquisitions have kept the executive search industry in a state of flux. Here’s a sampling of recent acquisitions taken from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:
Aleron Group, a global workforce and business solutions company, acquired TalentRISE, a Chicago-based firm specializing in executive search and recruitment process outsourcing (RPO). Founded in 2008, TalentRISE supports companies in nearly every vertical — retail, manufacturing, technology, financial services, healthcare, life sciences, e-commerce, and more — with custom and comprehensive talent acquisition solutions. The TalentRISE leadership team includes Carl Kutsmode, Allicia Hahn and Jason Krumwiede.
San Francisco-based Riviera Partners acquired New York-based technology-focused search firm Bamboo Talent. Founded in 2014, Bamboo Talent is recognized for building lasting relationships with candidates, companies and venture capital partners. The team at Bamboo has partnered with companies from their earliest funding rounds through every stage of growth. The firm has a broad network of relationships with seasoned engineering talent, CEOs, CTOs, founders, venture capitalists and talent partners.
StevenDouglas has acquired Tallience, a full-service technology search, staffing and consulting firm located in Fort Lauderdale, FL. As part of the acquisition, founding partner Tim Baron is joining Sunrise, FL-based StevenDouglas as managing director of its Washington, D.C. metro office.
London-headquartered Marlin Hawk has acquired Winter Circle, the invitation-only digital network for senior executives. The two firms will create the Marlin Hawk Group which will provide an array of talent solutions to help empower internal executive search teams through technology.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media