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Browne Jacobson completes sale of Packer Forbes to Four Communications Group

6 July 2016
Independent healthcare communications consultancy Packer Forbes has been acquired by Four Communications Group for an undisclosed sum.

Browne Jacobson corporate finance lawyers Nigel Blackwell and Sam Sharp advised Packer Forbes’ Chief Executive Alexa Forbes on the deal.

Founded in 1992 Packer Forbes is an award winning specialist healthcare communications agency based in Chelsea Harbour, specialising in providing public health, public affairs, digital, social media, media planning and buying services to blue chip pharmaceutical clients including Actelion Pharmaceuticals, Gilead Sciences and Novo Nordisk.  

The deal will see Packer Forbes rebranded as Four Health Communications, led by Alexa Forbes, and will sit within a new international healthcare grouping, Four Health. Following the acquisition Four Health will have a 35 strong team and a turnover of £17m pa. 

The deal follows on from a spate of acquisitions by Four, including healthcare media planning agency MSA Media (Four MSA) in May 2015, after it secured £10 million of investment from the Business Growth Fund and an additional debt facility of £5m from HSBC. 

Four Communications was formed in 2001 and is a leading independent marketing and communications agency specialising in public relations, public affairs, community consultation, design & digital, advertising & marketing, sponsorship and media planning & buying across a range of sectors including health, property, tourism, culture and sports. With seven offices spanning the UK and the Gulf, the company employs more than 250 staff and has more than 600 clients including Etihad Airways, The Man Booker Prizes, Sotheby’s International Realty, Novo Nordisk and American Express. 

Nan Williams, Four Communications Group chief executive said:

“Packer Forbes is a fantastic fit with Four and will double our presence in the important health market. They share our culture of delivering excellence for clients and creating an exciting place for staff to grow.”  

Chief executive of Packer Forbes, Alexa Forbes said:

“I am really excited by the challenge of establishing and evolving the integrated Four Health offering. Working alongside fellow experts from across the healthcare communications spectrum will be professionally stimulating for the whole team and I genuinely believe we will be able to offer a truly unique service for our clients.”

Sam Sharp, corporate finance lawyer at Browne Jacobson, added: 
“We are delighted to have acted on this deal for Packer Forbes. As a team we have seen a spike in corporate activity levels in the integrated marketing and communications sector recently which is largely driven by client demand. Earlier this year we completed the disposal of Publitek Limited to London listed Next Fifteen Communications Group plc. Other recent deals have included advising co-founders Simon Glover and Nick Stickland on the sale of London based creative agency ODD and acting for founding owners Roger Perowne and Alistair Cunningham on the disposal of 75% of their stake in Morar Consulting Limited to Next 15.”

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