Gould+Partners, a leading U.S.-based PR and marketing communication agency M&A advisory firm, has appointed Robert Udowitz of Washington, D.C., and Don Bates of New York City and D.C., as lead senior counselors for the national capital area.
Rick Gould, CPA, J.D., and founder and managing partner of G+P, said, “We’ve seen a lot of growth in the District and surrounding states, especially among digitally oriented firms, so we’re expanding our outreach. We’re taking greater advantage of Robert and Don’s extensive D.C. knowledge and contacts to assist more of these firms to manage, grow and partner for greater rewards and increased opportunities.”
Gould said G+P has several buyers seeking firms of all sizes in exchange for significant cash and high-level management involvement. “When we represent sellers, our main goal is to get them the best quality firm at the highest valuation.” He added, “We also assist strategic buyers in identifying quality sellers and facilitating M&A transactions. We never represent both buyer and seller in the same transaction.”
Expanded G+P presence
Gould said Udowitz and Bates will contact D.C.-area PR and marketing firms regularly with agency management advice. They will also provide counsel on valuation and succession planning as needed, in collaboration with G+P’s New York City home office.
In Washington since the mid-1990s, Udowitz has practiced at several of the city’s top public affairs, public relations and crisis communication firms. He has also held senior positions at trade associations and publicly traded corporations. His private practice includes consulting as well as an agency search firm, RFP Associates, which he created to improve the new business proposal process for organizations seeking PR and marketing assistance. He has been an officer of the PRSA-National Capital Chapter for more than 10 years.
Bates, a long-time marketing and PR executive, trainer and consultant, has worked with G+P for several years. He also teaches at New York University and is the founding director of George Washington University’s graduate public relations degree program. For 12 years, he owned The Bates Company, the New York City- and D.C-based PR and marketing firm. He is an accredited member and Fellow of the Public Relations Society of America and an honorary trustee of the Institute for Public Relations. He belongs to PRSA’s New York and D.C. chapters.
DC agency growth second in US
G+P’s 2017 “Best Practices Benchmarking Report,” released in June, found average profitability of U.S. PR agencies was 18.2 percent of net revenues, up from 15.2 percent the year before. Also, G+P’s 2017 “Net Revenue Growth Report” revealed that D.C.-metro firms had the second largest average growth of 9.2 percent behind northern California at 10 percent.
Recent G+P M&A assistance
On August 1, G+P reported its assistance to Canada’s AVENIR GLOBAL in buying Minneapolis-based Padilla, the seventh largest PR firm in the country ($40+ million net revenue 2017), and to CooperKatz ($6+ million net revenue), which merged with G&S Communications ($27 million net revenue 2017), formerly Gibbs & Soell.
“These are amazing combinations,” Gould explained, “but we know many more buyers who are looking for agencies with $1 million to $3 million or more in net revenues.