February 22, 2019 – Brentwood, TN-headquartered recruiting firm Vaco has acquired Aventine Hill Partners (AHP), a San Antonio-based advisory, consulting and executive search firm. Financial terms of the deal were undisclosed. Together, Vaco and AHP will provide talent and solutions across a diverse set of industries to more than 10,000 clients globally.
Vaco’s Texas operations have been steadily expanding since 2006 when the firm launched in the Dallas market. The 16-year-old recruitment company now has a strong Texas presence with offices in Dallas, Houston and Austin. The addition of Aventine Hill furthers Vaco’s expansion to serve more than 40 markets across the globe.
In 2009, Aventine Hill was founded with a commitment to helping clients succeed by improving business operations and profitability while simultaneously advancing the careers of their people. As San Antonio’s largest regional professional services firm, AHP will add hundreds of clients and candidates to Vaco’s client portfolio.
No leadership or executive changes are planned as a result of the acquisition. Beth Hair will continue as president of AHP and will work closely with Leslie Hector, executive partner for Vaco’s operations in Texas.
“We are on a passionate pursuit to find and partner with firms who share Vaco’s hunger for helping clients, candidates, and consultants,” said Jerry Bostelman, co-founder and CEO of Vaco. “The moment we met Beth and her team we knew we found something special. Our cultural and strategic alignment is in lock step, and I believe together we will be an unstoppable force.”
One of the foundations of AHP’s success has been a commitment to discovering and retaining high-quality talent, said Ms. Hair, who founded the organization. “We will continue to deliver an exceptional client experience but with Vaco’s greatly expanded network of experts, solutions and service offerings. San Antonio and all of our Texas markets will benefit,” she said.
“For several years now, we have been impressed with the entrepreneurial spirit and technological expertise Vaco brings to the table,” Ms. Hair said. “Without a doubt, our combined services will benefit clients for years to come and advance the careers of our talented team members. Most importantly, together with Vaco, we will accomplish our growth strategies while staying grounded in our servant-leadership values and the long-term success of our clients and consultants.”
Acquisitions Continue Among Search Firms
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.
In December, Vaco acquired MEBC Global, a Pennsylvania-based consulting firm specializing in supply chain processes. “As a testament to Vaco’s aggressive growth strategy, the purchases of MEBC Global and AHP not only expand Vaco’s reach geographically, but also increase its 2019 projected revenue to $650 million,” the firm said.
Vaco provides boutique-level service with global reach in the areas of executive search, consulting, permanent placement and strategic staffing. Its areas of expertise include accounting, finance, technology, healthcare IT, operations, administration and managed services. The firm operates more than 35 offices, with 780-plus employees and 4,300 consultants worldwide.
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. Since then, the firm has experienced significant growth through extending core business lines and entering new markets.
Recently, Vaco expanded into Denver, Pittsburgh and Winston-Salem/Greensboro, NC. As executive partners, Vaco’s Renee Fisher and Kevin Witt help chart the strategic course in the firm’s many local markets. “Vaco is thrilled to extend our national footprint and bring our consultative approach to talent and solutions to Denver, Pittsburgh and Winston-Salem/Greensboro,” said Ms. Fisher. Managing director Beatriz Sonnendecker will lead day-to-day operations for the Denver office, which will focus on recruiting finance and accounting executives. Vaco’s Pittsburgh office will be led by managing partner Phil McGivney, who is focused on growing the Vaco brand throughout the market and driving value for clients and candidates. Vaco’s Winston-Salem/ Greensboro location will be led by managing partner Jeff Reynolds, where he and his team bring the firm’s suite of services to the greater Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina.
In 2017, Vaco was acquired by Stamford, CT-based private equity firm Olympus Partners. “Vaco is exceedingly appreciative of Quad-C’s contributions,” said Jerry Bostelman, founder and CEO of Vaco. “Olympus brings that same fresh perspective and collaborative approach. Their contribution will be invaluable as we explore how to more cohesively deliver our complete solutions to clients, expand our service lines and geographies throughout the globe and institutionalize the essence of Vaco to ensure its eternal viability.”
Vaco completed seven acquisitions during Quad-C’s ownership that significantly expanded its executive search practice, widened its breadth of services in healthcare IT and added new geographies domestically and internationally, including Canada and India. Those most recent acquisitions included a variety search firms, such as Binary Semantics, Pivot Point Consulting, Greythorn and Charlson Partners.
Timothy Billings, a partner at Quad-C, said that Vaco is well positioned for growth. “In a relatively short period of time, we made significant investments in the company and were able to roughly double Vaco’s revenues, while diversifying the company’s end markets,” he said. “Vaco has an exceptionally strong culture and leadership team and we wish them continued success during their next stage of growth.”
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