Hunt Scanlon’s Top 15 Acquisition Stories of 2017

Acquisitions continue to make news in the executive search industry. From large global firms to boutiques to private equity firms and consulting outfits, they were all in on the action in 2017. Here’s a look back!
Top 15 Acquisition Stories of 2017

December 20, 2017 – “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” The truth of that adage is open to debate. Rather than argue the fine points, one business leader altered that statement to this: “If you’re not growing,” he said simply, “you’re not growing.” In other words, no matter how one slices it, growth and expansion matters.

At Hunt Scanlon Media, we have seen executive recruitment firms of all stripes achieve growth through all kinds of approaches. But none quite catch the attention like the acquisition of other businesses. Most times, an acquisition speaks of a recruitment firm that wants to get somewhere fast, be it by strengthening its offerings or claiming new territory. Whatever the case, acquisitions tend to make competitors – and bystanders like us – peer over their glasses and take notice.

In 2017, everyone was in on the act. Large global firms. Boutiques. Consulting firms. Private equity firms. Consolidation was in the air. We saw Big Five firms like Russell Reynolds Associates and Heidrick & Struggles expand their operations with respective purchases of Zygos Partnership and Amrop Denmark. Others, like Ward Howell International, which acquired Curran Partners, told the world that they were not only back to stay, but becoming a force to be reckoned with. And when private equity firm Olympus Partners acquired executive search firm Vaco, it was obvious that it had big plans. But then again, so did every search firm that was putting its money down.

Here are Hunt Scanlon Media’s choices for the Top 15 acquisitions of 2017:


Russell Reynolds Associates Acquires Zygos Partnership
Russell Reynolds Associates acquired London-based Zygos Partnership, a U.K.-based board and CEO advisory firm. Founded by Julia Budd in 2002, Zygos Partnership specializes in the appointment of chief executives, chairmen, chief financial officers and non-executive directors for listed companies or …


Vaco Acquired by Private Equity Firm
Executive search firm Vaco was acquired by Stamford, CT-based private equity firm Olympus Partners. Founded in 2002 by Jerry Bostelman, Jay Hollomon, and Brian Waller, Vaco partnered with its first private equity partner, Quad-C Management, three years ago.


DES Recruitment and Miramar Global Executive Search Merge
DES Recruitment merged with U.K.-based Miramar Global Executive Search. John Hodge, founder and managing partner of DES Recruitment, became managing partner for Miramar. Miramar Global has forged a reputation serving U.S. multinationals in the Americas as well as across EMEA and Asia.


Heidrick & Struggles to Acquire Amrop Denmark, Creating Market Leader Position
Heidrick & Struggles entered into an agreement to acquire Amrop Denmark. The deal is estimated at $8.4 million, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. All five Amrop Denmark partners joined Heidrick’s Copenhagen office.


Sheffield Haworth Acquires NBI Consulting
London-based executive recruitment firm Sheffield Haworth acquired nbi Consulting, a specialist global executive search and talent management firm in the business and prof. services sector. As part of the acquisition, nbi became part of Sheffield Haworth’s global business and professional services practice.


Prodigy Sports Acquires Ascension Sports Partners
Freehold, NJ-based Prodigy Sports, a nationwide leader in top-level sports recruiting, acquired Ascension Sports Partners, a boutique search firm led by veteran recruiter Dan Rossetti. Financial terms of the deal were undisclosed.


DHR International Acquires Fashion Boutique Search Firm Cooper+Logan
DHR International acquired boutique executive search firm COOPER+LOGAN. With the addition of two new managing partners, the acquisition strengthened DHR’s retail/fashion industry and functional expertise.


Ward Howell Continues U.S. Expansion With Acquisition
Global recruiter Ward Howell International acquired Curran Partners, a Stamford, CT-based executive search firm with a concentration in the life sciences, among other sectors it serves. Founded in 1989, Curran Partners became the U.S. member of ECI Group, an international network, in 2003.


Options Group Acquires MCL Search
Global financial recruiting specialist Options Group acquired MCL Search Ltd, an executive search firm based in London specializing in electronic markets (trading and distribution), prime brokerage/clearing and financial trading technology with a focus on currencies and fixed income.


Indeed Acquires HR Technology Company
Job-site leader Indeed acquired Interviewed, an HR technology company that streamlines how employers identify and evaluate candidates. Financial terms of the deal were undisclosed. As part of the acquisition, all of Interviewed’s employees, including its CEO and co-founders, became Indeed employees.


Focus Search Partners Acquires Taylor Winfield
Focus Search Partners (FSP), the executive search division of talent solutions provider Vaco, acquired Dallas-based recruiters Taylor Winfield. With the acquisition, FSP gained a team of professionals with enterprise operating experience across many industries.


Wurster Partners Merges With ON Partners
Wurster Partners merged with ON Partners, a boutique leadership advisory firm focused on technology, life sciences, consumer, industrial and the energy / clean tech industries. The deal bolstered ON Partners expertise in global consumer brand recruiting.


Buffkin / Baker Merges WTW Associates Into Its Expanding Search Platform
Buffkin/ Baker recently merged NY-based WTW Associates into its expanding executive recruiting platform. The firm also acquired Nashville, TN-based MusicRowSearch, an executive recruiting operation specializing in the entertainment industry.


Search Firms Focused On Growth & Expansion Acquire Rivals
McDermott & Bull launched McDermott & Bull Europe B.V. via the recent acquisition of Amsterdam-based Interconsultants Executive Search. Interconsultants was founded by Jetse Reijenga in 1984 and has completed hundreds of search assignments for European and global clients.


RSR Partners Acquires Higdon Partners
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.


Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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