Vitruvian Backs College Group


European private equity firm Vitruvian Partners has invested in College Group, valuing the business at approximately 45 million pounds ($70.3 million). College Group management and staff will continue to retain a substantial equity investment in the business, in partnership with Vitruvian.

PRESS RELEASE

The College Group Limited (“College Group” or “the Group”) announces that independent private equity group Vitruvian Partners LLP (“Vitruvian”) has invested in College Group, valuing the business at approximately £45 million ($70.3 million). College Group management and staff will continue to retain a substantial equity investment in the business, in partnership with Vitruvian.
This investment comes towards the end of a four-year period during which College Group has more than trebled in size, expanding beyond its origins as a financial public relations consultancy based in London, to a broadly based international communications consultancy with over 300 people supporting clients out of 13 owned offices in Europe, Africa, Asia and the US, with an annual turnover of £40 million pounds ($62.5 million).
From its core practice of Business Communications, incorporating both capital markets and corporate brand building PR, College Group has broadened its service to clients into four further complementary practice areas: government and regulatory affairs; employee engagement; strategic research and branding, design, reporting and digital. The Group will continue to build out its industry sector expertise.
More than a quarter of College Group’s clients already use two or more of the Group’s practices and a growing number of clients are drawing on the Group’s international capability, with approximately one third of Group staff based overseas.
Following Vitruvian’s investment, Alex Sandberg will step down as Group Chairman and away from day-to- day management. However, Alex will remain with the business, focussing on working with clients and the development of the Group’s Business Communications practice. Toby Wyles and Ben Johnson, Partners at Vitruvian, will join the College Group board.
The College Group management team, led by CEO Richard Nichols, has ambitious plans to continue to build services to clients organically as well as by investing in talent and complementary businesses. College Group views this partnership with Vitruvian as the logical next step in accelerating growth, since Vitruvian has committed to provide the capital to fund expansion both by service and by geography.
The College Group was advised by Osborne Clarke, KPMG and Clarity. Vitruvian was advised by Deloitte, Weil Gotshal & Manges, AMR International and KPMG.
Alex Sandberg, College Hill founder said: “I’m really proud of how we’ve built College Hill into the Group it is today, with the broader range of services for our clients and our increasing international reach. Fresh capital from a blue chip investor adds a game-changing dimension to our ambitions. I believe our greatest potential still lies ahead of us and I’m backing Richard and the team to deliver the next stage.”
Richard Nichols, College Group Chief Executive said: “We will continue to look for businesses and talent who want to share in our ambition to be one of the select few international business communications consultancies serving the world’s leading organisations. We have the platform, the team and a focussed ambition. And we now have access to the capital to accelerate our plans”.
Toby Wyles, Managing Partner at Vitruvian said: “We want to invest in high quality companies that have focussed, proven business models and very talented people, who don’t want to sell out but need capital to realise their ambitions. That’s our role, to provide the fuel for growth. In College Group, we’ve invested in a company that’s absolutely in our sweet spot. We look forward to our partnership with College Group shareholders, helping them to continue to realise the full potential of their business.”
Enquiries and notes to editors on second page Page 1 of 2
10th October 2011
ENQUIRIES: College Group
Alex Sandberg
Richard Nichols, Chief Executive
Vitruvian Partners
Toby Wyles, Managing Partner
Notes for Editors The College Group
+44 020 7457 2027 +44 07831 851 844 [email protected]
+44 020 7457 2020 +44 07798 865 453 [email protected]
+44 020 7518 2800 +44 07774 107 314 [email protected]
The College Group is a fast-growing international business communications consultancy employing over 300
people in thirteen offices in Europe, Africa, Asia and the US. With five core complementary practices and
specialist industry sector teams, College Group consultants bring the strategic advice and implementation
needed in times of change as well as in the day-to-day management of their clients’ corporate reputations
and ultimately, their business objectives.
Vitruvian Partners
Vitruvian is an independent private equity firm which specialises in investing in growth companies in
Northern Europe. Vitruvian focuses on investing in ‘dynamic situations’ in industries characterised by growth
and change such as Information Technology, Media, Telecoms, Financial Services, Business Services,
Healthcare and Leisure. Vitruvian is currently investing its inaugural fund of 925 million Euros ($1.259 billion).

Do you want exclusive news and analysis about private equity deals, fundraising, top-quartile managers and more? Get your FREE trial to Buyouts! Or subscribe now!