Wales’ largest independent PR agency, Working Word, is aiming for client, service and revenue growth following a management buyout.
The deal for the Cardiff and London-based agency sees existing directors and shareholders Dan Tyte and Caroline Holmes acquire the business from founder Eoghan Mortell.
Under the new structure, Mr Tyte takes up the role of managing director, while Ms Holmes becomes operations director, with each having an equal stake in the company. Both joined the agency in 2007 and have been central to its evolution over the past five years.
Mr Mortell will remain part of the team as associate director, using his experience to work with key clients and pursue growth opportunities.
The agency, which was formed in 1999, designs and delivers creative communications campaigns across public relations, digital and brand for a range of high profile public, private and third sector clients across Wales and the UK.
The deal is the culmination of a plan started in 2011 when Mr Tyte and Ms Holmes took a shareholding and became directors of the company, using their combined 25 years plus experience to help grow the team, secure big name clients and achieve record financial figures.
Over the past three years the company’s profits have increased by 230%, supported by a client list which has doubled over the same time to over fifty organisations with a growth in UK-wide accounts.
Headquartered in Cardiff at what WalesOnline described as ‘one of the coolest offices in Wales’, Working Word works with organisations including Principality Building Society, Liberty House, BAFTA Cymru, Capital Law, Sport Wales, Axiom Manufacturing Services, UWC Atlantic College, Asset International, Welsh Government, UK Government and Public Health Wales.
Over the past few years, Mr Tyte and Ms Holmes have played a key role in a widening of services which now sees the agency creating fully-integrated bilingual campaigns including public relations, digital, brand development, design, events, video, apps and search marketing.
Eoghan Mortell said:
“Over the past 17 years, Working Word has grown to become one of the largest and best communications companies in Wales. We’ve employed some of the most talented PR professionals and had the privilege to work with top class clients. I’d like to thank all of them. Caroline and Dan have made an amazing contribution to the development of the business in recent years and I’m confident it is in very good hands for an exciting and successful future.”
Dan Tyte said:
“Working Word is a brilliant business filled with creative, clever people that make a real difference to some great organisations. Caroline and I have had a wonderful opportunity to work with Eoghan to make the company what it is today – one of Wales’ smartest, most successful PR agencies.
“The future of the PR industry is an exciting place as technology continues to transform how people communicate with each other. We’re determined to be at the forefront of this and are in the perfect place to take advantage of the opportunities for growth in revenue that this presents.”
Caroline Holmes said: “This is a really exciting new chapter in Working Word’s history and we’re very fortunate to be going into it with an exceptionally talented team. Great people are central to a successful PR business and we want Working Word to be the best place to work in order to retain and develop the best people to produce exciting, quality and creative work for our clients.
“We want to thank Finance Wales along with our advisors for their help and support during the buyout.”
Development Bank of Wales part-funded the deal, with support provided by Leanna Davies, while Sion Tudur of Capital Law, Mike Jenkins of Harding Evans, Elliot Buss of UHY Hacker Young and Mervyn Ham of Iridium Corporate Services advised.
Investment executive, Leanna Davies, who structured Finance Wales’ investment in Working Word, said:
“Dan and Caroline are an experienced management team who have an excellent understanding of the business and the wider communications sector in Wales.
“Since the launch of the Wales Management Succession Fund earlier this year we’ve been working with an increasing number of talented and ambitious management teams to enable MBOs. Working Word has an excellent track record in the sector and we are delighted to support Dan and Caroline’s future plans for the business.”