Art Stevens   
Art Stevens
Managing Partner
   Rich Jachetti
Senior Partner


ACQUIPEDIA


The Stevens Group has taken a slightly different tack with this website. We’ve taken a more thought leadership approach vs. the typical Who We Are/What We Do approach common to the lion’s share of professional service provider websites, particularly those of our competitors. We hope you will find this section of our website, which we’ve titled ACQUIPEDIA, filled with information that provides both agency buyers and sellers with much more depth and insight (aka: thought leadership) into the world of PR and digital marketing agency mergers & acquisitions than is available anywhere else on the cloud. We will continue to be adding similar content to this section regularly. We welcome you here now. And, we invite you back again and again should you have an interest in the subject matter.

PR Agencies Learn Tough Lessons
 
PR Agencies Learn Tough Lessons
Just like every other organization in the communications industry, public relations firms have been forced to dramatically alter how they operate in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While I could wax philosophical about how this ongoing catastrophe continues to affect virtually every sector of the global economy, I’ll instead focus on what PR agencies should…
The PR Agency Owner’s Coronavirus Survival Kit
 
The PR Agency Owner’s Coronavirus Survival Kit
Some PR agencies are currently in a state of freefall because of the coronavirus pandemic. This is a situation that is reminiscent of the hit PR agencies took during the 2008 financial disaster. In that case, several agencies lost as much as 50 percent of their business. Most stood firm, however, and did what they…
M&A Deal Essentials
 
M&A Deal Essentials
While the specifics of PR agency acquisitions vary considerably from one situation to another, there’s one constant that’s true of all potential PR agency M&A deals. If the chemistry feels right after an initial phone call or meeting between the two parties, buyers invariably want to get down to business. Before taking the next step…
Why PR Agency Acquisition Discussions Fall Apart
 
Why PR Agency Acquisition Discussions Fall Apart
Bringing two agencies together, whether large or small, is a significant undertaking. The art of acquisition takes not only a high degree of patience and focus but also a special set of skills and a great deal of strategic planning. In addition, whether or not your agency acquisition experience is seamless depends on crucial aspects…
Are PR Agency Valuations Worth the Time and Money?
 
Are PR Agency Valuations Worth the Time and Money?
Let’s say you’re in the market for a new home. What do you do? You hire a broker to determine the current marketplace. You give the broker information such as where you’d like to live, what type of house you want, what amenities need to be within driving distance and what price range you can…
Seven Ways to Turn Off a Prospective Seller
 
Seven Ways to Turn Off a Prospective Seller
Want to know the quickest way to abruptly end a discussion about a PR agency sale just after the conversation starts? I’ve invested a lot of time and effort throughout my career in the public relations industry working with and mentoring both would-be buyers (and sellers) on how to approach an initial agency sales meeting. And…
How To Get Off The No Growth Treadmill
 
How To Get Off The No Growth Treadmill
I attended the 2019 PRSA Counselor’s Academy spring conference in St. Petersburg, Fla. It was an enlightening experience to be among a group of about 150 mainly younger entrepreneurs who own PR agencies. Some came from as far away as Alaska to attend the 3-day conference. They were there to learn and to share with…
Introducing The PR MASTERS SERIES Podcast
 
Introducing The PR MASTERS SERIES Podcast
The Stevens Group is pleased to present a new podcast series that salutes the masters of public relations and revels in their observations, insights and advice to PR professionals.  This new series is part of the ongoing partnership between The Stevens Group and CommPRO to bring to PR, digital/interactive and marketing communications agencies the wisdom of those…
Lessons Learned After an Agency Acquisition
 
Lessons Learned After an Agency Acquisition
If your PR or digital marketing agency is considering an acquisition, you likely know how crucial it is to incorporate careful, strategic planning and collaboration across both entities to ensure a smooth transition and happy, motivated employees. Effectively communicating the changes throughout the process — both internally and externally — is also important, if not…
2018’s Top PR Agency Acquisition Takeaways
 
2018’s Top PR Agency Acquisition Takeaways
It was the best of acquisitions, it was the worst of acquisitions, it was the age of private equity, it was the age of the roll up, it was the epoch of newcomers, it was the epoch of early retirements, it was the season of high margins, it was the season of bolt-ons, it was…
Webcast: Current Politics and Public Relations
 
Webcast: Current Politics and Public Relations
It would be a challenge even for the most learned of historians to recall a time in our history when the political parties in the U.S. have been more polarized. It also would not be considered as hyperbolic to say that the image of the media as a reliable source of information, seekers of the truth and…
How to Get the Best Out of An Attorney During the PR Agency Acquisition Process
 
How to Get the Best Out of An Attorney During the PR Agency Acquisition Process
The decision to sell or buy a public relations agency is significant. It carries with it an abundant opportunity for those savvier individuals and often unseen risks for the inexperienced. With this in mind, the value of enlisting the support of the right attorney – someone who truly understands the public relations landscape inside and out – cannot…
Risk Aversion
 
Risk Aversion
The Hidden Culprit That Can Prevent CEOs From Making Prudent M&A Decisions Life undeniably is a series of calculated risks. In fact, most of us take risks every day without realizing it. Almost everything we decide – from getting married, buying a car, having children and choosing a career – has some margin of risk. There…
Webcast: Lessons Learned After Being Acquired
 
Webcast: Lessons Learned After Being Acquired
Life doesn’t stop once a PR agency has been acquired.  Its CEO and entire staff become integrated into the buyer’s organization and life becomes quite different.  Whether it’s a good or bad life depends upon many factors — culture, chemistry, synergy as well as the blending of best practices of seller and buyer.  Learn from someone whose…
Webcast: Five Key Factors in PR Agency Acquisitions
 
Webcast: Five Key Factors in PR Agency Acquisitions
Will they want my PR firm as is? In this instance we’re not talking about a new business presentation. This is a question virtually every PR agency owner asks herself or himself when considering the possibility of selling their agency. Will a buyer, any buyer, be interested in what we have to offer now? In…
The Next Chapter: Consider Your Post-Sale Plans
 
The Next Chapter: Consider Your Post-Sale Plans
Are you planning to sell your agency sometime soon? Have you thought about where you see yourself four years after the ink dries? With any public relations agency merger or acquisition, there are numerous questions you must ask yourself before signing on the dotted line, including getting smart about your future options. For example, are…
Webcast: Building Next Generation Agency
 
Webcast: Building Next Generation Agency
Bob Feldman joined Art Stevens for the first in a series of webcasts that focused on the subject of PR and digital marketing agency Mergers & Acquisitions. This series is sponsored by The Stevens Group and brought to you by CommPro.biz. In this brief exchange between Bob and Art they cover subjects that in this quickly-changing and converging environment are a “MUST KNOW” for any PR agency…
The Many Perils of a D.I.Y. Sale
 
The Many Perils of a D.I.Y. Sale
Some things were inherently meant to be “Do-It-Yourself” projects, like repainting your spare bedroom, planting a new bed of hydrangeas, or updating the latest operating system software on your mobile device. However, the sale of your PR firm is definitely not one of those things. With the recent arrival of 2018, we find that the U.S. economy…
When ‘Cold Feet Syndrome’ Puts an Agency Sale on Ice
 
When ‘Cold Feet Syndrome’ Puts an Agency Sale on Ice
With the winter season upon us, there’s perhaps no better time to examine the mysterious phenomenon of what we refer to as “Cold Feet Syndrome,” a sometimes puzzling set of circumstances that cause a surprising number of PR agency CEOs to back out of a previously-agreed-to sale of their firm to a buyer agency at…
12 Myths About PR Firms Being Acquired
 
12 Myths About PR Firms Being Acquired
Whether you’re actively considering the sale of your PR firm, or it’s just a vague idea that’s been percolating at the back of your mind for a while, it’s important to have realistic expectations before pursuing a deal in earnest. Because delusional beliefs about the acquisition process can occasionally preclude the most opportunistic of transactions,…
ADDING VALUE WITH IN-HOUSE DIGITAL CAPABILITIES
 
ADDING VALUE WITH IN-HOUSE DIGITAL CAPABILITIES
If you’re the CEO of a small-to-medium sized public relations firm, it’s very possible  that a good part of your thinking about the future growth of your agency focuses on formulating a strategy for the sale of your firm someday. That day may not come  this year, or in the next five years, or even…
Changing Role of the PR Firm CEO
 
Changing Role of the PR Firm CEO
Here we examine key issues facing CEOs as they strive to remain steady at the helms of their evolving practices. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus is often credited with penning the notion that nothing is permanent except change. In the last decade and a half, the public relations industry has undergone yet another dramatic transformation, providing…
Selling Your PR Firm
 
Selling Your PR Firm
Here are 10 mistakes a seller should avoid at a first meeting with a buyer. 1. Don’t be late for the meeting. Allow time for bad traffic, subway/bus snafus and office building security clearance. 2. Don’t say you’re “considering” selling your firm but haven’t made up your mind. If you do, expect to be shown…
Podcast: Selling Your PR Firm?
 
Podcast: Selling Your PR Firm?
TSG Managing Partner Art Stevens was interviewed on a podcast by Rodger Roeser, chairman of the PR Agency Owners Association as part of a special LinkedIn broadcast.  Roeser conducts periodic audio interviews of leading figures in the PR agency world.  The interview was disseminated to members of this association.  The subject discussed is everything you ever…
Combine PR Savvy with Biz Sense to Make Profits
 
Combine PR Savvy with Biz Sense to Make Profits
A good friend (I’ll call him Dave) owned a public relations agency for about 8 years and on the surface it appeared as if his agency was doing fine.  Or so I thought. One day he confided in me. “I love having my own business,” he said.  “But I can’t seem to make the money…
The First Meeting Between a PR Agency Seller and Buyer
 
The First Meeting Between a PR Agency Seller and Buyer
I had the good fortune of recently assembling and moderating a panel discussion on behalf of PRSA’s New York Chapter on the subject of “Why Should I Hire You?” The panel consisted of three agency CEOs: Edelman’s Richard Edelman, Finn Partners’ Peter Finn and Peppercomm’s Ed Moed. The panel focused on the changing nature of…
What’s in a Name?
 
What’s in a Name?
Here’s a somewhat familiar story. The names here have been changed to prevent awkwardness. Rhett Butler Public Relations, a New York consumer product PR agency earning about $3 million in net fee revenues, was acquired by the Millard Fillmore Group headquartered in San Francisco. Fillmore is an agency on the rise and nets $30 million…
Why a Buyer’s Vision Must Align With a Seller’s Vision
 
Why a Buyer’s Vision Must Align With a Seller’s Vision
In a number of articles I’ve written for PRSA over the years, one of the recurring themes is the importance of chemistry when reviewing the merits of combining two agencies. I don’t mean to sound naïve. On the contrary, it’s more than a decade of real-life experience in the PR agency mergers and acquisitions world…
The Stevens Group Sell Test
 
The Stevens Group Sell Test
If you’re thinking about selling your PR agency then here are ten important questions you should be asking yourself. 1. Have you made a list of reasons why you want to sell your firm? 2. Are you prepared to report to someone? 3. Do you have a realistic sense of the market value of your firm? 4. Will…
The personal wealth of PR agency owners
 
The personal wealth of PR agency owners
With the spate of agency acquisitions in recent years, you might think making a deal is easy. Far from it. As someone who has worked closely with more than a hundred public relations agencies during the past 10 years, I am privy to one of the best-kept secrets in the industry. Most owners of independent…
Debating the Future of Earnouts
 
Debating the Future of Earnouts
Ever since a farsighted PR or ad agency determined that an additional way to grow its business was to acquire other PR agencies, the manner in which most transactions are completed today hasn’t changed much since the ink dried on those precedent-setting M&A deals of yesteryear. Is that a good or bad thing? Let’s take…
What Selling Your PR Agency Can Do for You
 
What Selling Your PR Agency Can Do for You
As published in PRSA Public Relations Tactics By Art Stevens, APR, Fellow PRSA The most successful acquisition transactions that I’ve been involved with put a spring in the step of the principals of the PR agencies who have sold to larger buyers. It has less to do with extra money in their pockets. But it…
Considering PR Agency Profitability
 
Considering PR Agency Profitability
As published in PRSA Public Relations Tactics By Art Stevens, APR, Fellow PRSA Mergers and acquisitions are a constant fact of life for PR agencies. Have you thought about starting your own firm, and wondered about an exit strategy? Or do you manage your own agency and wonder what it would take to sell it?…
You Can’t Always Sell When You Want
 
You Can’t Always Sell When You Want
As published in O’Dwyer’s Daily By Art Stevens, APR, Fellow PRSA To parallel the famous Rolling Stones song, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” PR firms may also not be able to sell when they want. During my ten years’ experience in consulting with PR agencies of various sizes on future strategies, I have…
A Look at Today’s Acquisition Landscape for PR Agencies
 
A Look at Today’s Acquisition Landscape for PR Agencies
As published in PRSA Public Relations Tactics By Art Stevens, APR, Fellow PRSA Mergers and acquisitions are a constant fact of life for PR agencies. Have you thought about starting your own firm, and wondered about an exit strategy? Or do you manage your own agency and wonder what it would take to sell it?…
6 Tips to Keep Buyers Interested in Your PR Agency
 
6 Tips to Keep Buyers Interested in Your PR Agency
As published in PRSA Public Relations Tactics In this third installment of my yearlong series on selling your PR agency, I’m going to share a number of common mistakes that could cause a prospective buyer to walk away.  We already covered the need to run your agency like the true business that it is in…
So You’re Managing a Successful PR Agency?
 
So You’re Managing a Successful PR Agency?
 As published in PRSA Public Relations Tactics In my first post on the subject “So You Own a PR Agency? Where Do You Go from There?” from Jan. 8, we covered the necessity of running a PR agency like a business, we focused on growth and profitability, and we raised the subject of an eventual…
So You Own a PR Agency? Where Do You Go from There?
 
So You Own a PR Agency? Where Do You Go from There?
As published in PRSA Public Relations Tactics Mergers and acquisitions are a constant fact of life for PR agencies. Have you thought about starting your own firm, and wondered about an exit strategy? Or do you manage your own agency and wonder what it would take to sell it? PRSA member Art Stevens, APR, Fellow…
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