January 29, 2020 – Acquisitions continue to make news in the recruiting industry, with a number of notable purchases in recent months. Recently, Minneapolis-headquartered Versique Search and Consulting acquired St. Paul, MN-based Midwest Financial Search to boost its presence in the banking and financial services sector. Financial terms of the deal were undisclosed.
Midwest Financial Search specializes in placing executives and others at banks and financial institutions. Versique president and CEO Tony Sorensen said his firm wanted to expand into the financial arena, where it has done few placements. The banking and financial services practice will be led by Mary Lydon and Paul Bees, who ran Midwest Financial Search.
“We are thrilled to welcome Paul and Mary to the Versique family,” said Mr. Sorensen. “They each bring a wealth of search industry experience and invaluable networks to our team.” He added that his firm is looking for other deals to expand its offerings into more consulting services.
Ms. Lydon’s extensive network gives her the ability to uncover hidden banking talent. Drawing on her broad complement of skills, she formed Midwest Financial Search in 2003, based on a philosophy that values long-term relationships.
Mr. Bees has 10 years of experience in commercial banking and 30 years in the executive search industry. A recognized expert in banking recruiting and compensation trends, he joined Midwest Financial Search in 2003 because the firm allowed him to focus his expertise and marketing entirely on one industry.
Midwest Financial Search makes placements primarily in the financial services sector. The firm’s clients include Minneapolis, MN-based U.S. Bancorp., St. Paul, MN-based Bremer Financial Corp. and San Francisco, CA-based Wells Fargo.
Versique is the Twin Cities’ second-largest executive search firm with roughly $4.5 million in revenue from placements and about $17 million in total revenue. The firm has almost 60 employees and did about 300 placements in 2019.
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:
ZRG Partners acquired Toft Group, a smaller rival focused on the life sciences and biotech sectors. Toft Group will operate as a ZRG company, focused on supporting client needs for senior life science professionals. The transaction will add about $10 million in annual revenues to ZRG and bolster the firm’s direct presence in the global life science sector in which it maintains a strong market presence in the top tier pharma space. With this acquisition, ZRG will report revenues anticipated to exceed $65 million in 2019 and will have over 200 global team members. Robin Toft, founder and chair of the Toft Group, will continue in her role with the firm where she will build out the platform and help with growth at ZRG as a senior leader.
Heidrick & Struggles acquired Brazil-headquartered search firm 2GET. With offices in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, 2GET has 50 employees, including 13 consultants. The firm was founded in 2009. Paulo Mendes, a founder and executive board member of 2GET, will lead the newly combined Heidrick & Struggles operation in Brazil.
Diversified Search, backed by investment dollars from private equity firm ShoreView Industries, has acquired Koya Leadership Partners, one of the nation’s top search firms in non-profit and higher education. Katie Bouton, Koya’s founder and CEO, will assume the role of president of Diversified Search.
Spencer Stuart has acquired MERC Partners, a leading executive search and leadership consulting firm based in Ireland. The addition of MERC Partners marks Spencer Stuart’s first client-facing team in Ireland and represents an important addition for its EMEA and global business.
ZRG Partners acquired London-headquartered search firm Holker Watkin. The firm will operate as a ZRG company, focused on supporting client needs for senior-level strategy professionals on a retained and interim project basis. The transaction is expected to add $11 million in annual revenues to ZRG and bolster ZRG’s direct presence in Europe.
Fresh on the heels of securing $25 million in private equity financing, Riviera Partners, a recruitment provider specializing in C-level engineering, product and design leader placements, continued its recent expansion with the acquisition of New York-based tech and product leader specialist WorthyWorks. WorthyWorks, led by founder Kyle Langworthy, specializes in searches for engineering and product leaders within the blockchain ecosystem.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media