New York-based public-relations agency FGS Global has acquired Longview Communications and Public Affairs, one of Canada’s top corporate advisory shops, in a marriage meant to better position both firms to win work on increasingly complex assignments.
Employee-owned Longview, launched in 2003, advises corporate clients on mergers and acquisitions (M&A), government relations, and restructurings. In the spring, founder Josh Pekarsky said the team began looking for a global partner or buyer “with the people, tools, expertise and insight to make us a better firm.”
On Tuesday, Longview is expected to announce the sale, with the firm branded as FGS Longview in Canada. The agency has 30 professionals and executives in seven cities. Longview’s current four-member executive team will continue to run the company. FGS and Longview did not release financial terms of the transaction.
FGS, partly owned by global advertising agency WPP PLC, has expanded through a series of mergers and has 1,300 employees. The firm has a number of Canadian clients, and Winnie Lerner, the company’s chief executive officer in North America, said the decision to partner with Longview reflects the fact that “we view Canada as an active and important market.”
“Our clients’ needs are evolving. They are becoming more global in scope, and more complex,” Ms. Lerner said. She said by combining forces, FGS Longview will be able to offer expertise in areas that are increasingly important to corporate leaders, such as cybersecurity and national security regulation.
In the past decade, competition issues and national security issues have delayed or blocked a number of larger domestic transactions, several of which involved Longview clients. In 2010, the federal Conservatives nixed BHP Group’s hostile takeover of PotashCorp. of Saskatchewan. Potash Corp., advised by Longview, subsequently merged with Agrium Inc. to create Nutrien Ltd. in 2018. Ottawa is now reviewing Glencore PLC’s bid for the coal business of Teck Resources Ltd., another Longview client.
Both Longview and FGS have bulked up in the past to broaden their services. In 2018, Longview merged with M&A and government-relations boutique DFH Public Affairs. Three DFH partners – Bruce Drysdale, Ian Hamilton and Hugh McFadyen – remain members of the Longview management team.
WPP launched FGS Global in 2021 by combining agencies in Europe, the U.S. and Britain, including flagship agencies Finsbury, the Glover Park Group, Hering Schuppener and Sard Verbinnen. In April, private equity firm KKR & Co. took a minority stake in FGS Global.