KKR agreed to make a growth investment in FGS Global, a strategic advisory and communications firm. Under the terms of the agreement, WPP will remain FGS’ majority owner and FGS employees will remain substantial shareholders. FGS also plans to expand its employee ownership to include nearly half of its staff worldwide. Golden Gate Capital, an FGS shareholder since 2016, will exit its investment through the sale of its interest to KKR.

KKR is making the investment in FGS primarily through its European Fund VI, an $8 billion fund that invests in the growth of businesses by providing access to KKR’s network and business building resources. The transaction is expected to close before the end of Q3/23, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

FGS is a provider of strategic advisory and communications services, including the handling of corporate reputation, crisis management, government affairs and business-critical financial communications. The company has 1,300 employees across 27 global offices.

“Our investment in FGS is the latest example of our focus on proprietary, strategic partnership investments where we are providing long-term capital and a global network of resources to an entrepreneurial management team and alongside a world-class business,” Philipp Freise, partner and co-head of European private equity at KKR, said. “We firmly believe that Alex Geiser, Carter Eskew, Roland Rudd, George Sard and their talented global team are pioneering the next generation of value-add strategic communications services. Stakeholder engagement is a boardroom issue and we are confident that FGS, with whom we have enjoyed a long-term relationship, is well positioned to capitalize on significant growth opportunities ahead as a global category leader in the growing management consulting service industry.”

“We are thrilled to have found a partner in KKR who shares our vision of creating a global integrated communications consultancy and will help us to accelerate the evolution of our industry,” Alexander Geiser, global CEO of FGS, said. “Companies are operating in increasingly complex stakeholder ecosystems and FGS was created to build a new kind of consultancy to help leaders face this challenge. KKR’s exceptional investment track record, extensive experience and global resources will be invaluable as we seek to grow our integrated solutions globally. We are committed to creating value for all of our shareholders. This includes many of our colleagues who will be able to participate in our long-term success through a new expanded ownership program that we will create, which we believe is without precedent in our industry.”

“FGS has established itself as a global leader in strategic advisory and communications, providing board-level counsel to the world’s leading companies and organizations,” Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said. “We are delighted to welcome KKR as a new strategic partner in FGS, in a transaction that recognizes the tremendous value of the business and its potential for continued strong growth.”