Lead Forensics

In 2019 CEO Peter Reid and the management team of MSQ Partners secured a significant investment when they chose to partner with LDC.


MSQ Partners: Multi-disciplinary growth plans

Private equity investment and expertise supports acquisitive and organic growth at marketing and communications group.

  • Technology, Media, Telecoms

MSQ Partners is a multi-disciplinary group of digital, creative, branding and PR agencies.

Deal type
  • Secondary buyout
Deal value


MSQ Partners is a multi-disciplinary group of digital, creative, branding and PR agencies that specialises in marketing communications for consumer and B2B brands and the public sector.

The international group employs more than 500 people across 15 offices in the UK, Asia and USA, and includes six agency brands; branding-and-design business Holmes & Marchant, PR and content consultancy Smarts, customer acquisition and engagement specialist Stack, B2B marketing business Stein IAS, creative and media company The Gate and digital agency twentysix.

Key clients include Unilever, Peugeot and Nestlé.

Supporting a dynamic group

In May 2019 the group’s management team secured a significant investment when they chose to partner with LDC in a deal that valued the business at £37.5m.

The backing is helping the group to accelerate the roll-out of its successful multi-disciplinary model beyond London, sustain the continued growth of its individual agencies and support acquisitions.

orange quote mark
Our new partnership with LDC will enable us to embark on the next phase of our growth journey, giving us the resources to further invest in our individual agency’s capabilities and accelerate the roll-out of our multi-disciplinary model internationally, whilst retaining the employee-ownership ethos that has been key to our success.”
Peter Reid, CEO
MSQ Partners

Adding value

Shortly after the partnership was announced, industry heavyweight, Charles Courtier, was appointed Non-Executive Chairman to support Co-Founder and Chief Executive Peter Reid.

Charles has more than 30 years’ experience in the advertising industry and was CEO of WPP’s global media agency MEC until 2017, where he was responsible for 6,000 people across 80 markets. During his tenure, initially based in New York and latterly in London, MEC quadrupled in size to become a $1bn business and one of the world’s top five media agencies.

Clear intentions

In September 2020, MSQ completed the £20.6m public to private acquisition of the Be Heard Partnership with £6m of follow on funding support from LDC. The transaction confirms Be Heard’s delisting from the London Stock Exchange (AIM) and is part of MSQ’s ambitious buy and build strategy, designed to enhance its multi-disciplinary capabilities, particularly in tech and data analytics.

orange quote mark
It’s an exciting time in MSQ’s development, not least transacting a deal and integrating two groups in the virtual, and often challenging environment, that we are currently operating in. We value LDC’s support, including that of our buy and build strategy, and we’re excited about the scale of opportunities already arising from the acquisition.”
Peter Reid, CEO and Founder

In 2021, Smarts, a part of MSQ, launched a new business in the US to expand its focus on popular culture and entertainment.

Located in New York, Smarts US will help businesses grow by building cultural relevance that resonates with people and keeps them front of mind.

The expansion into the US comes off the back of unprecedented growth in Smarts’ UK, Ireland and global business, with recent new client wins including Visa and Seedlip.

In March 2021 MSQ launched MSQ B2B, an agency model providing end-to-end creative, tech and data-led marketing capabilities for B2B clients globally and acquired digital marketing agency MBA merging it with its customer acquisition and engagement shop, Stack. The combined offering, called MBAstack, will be led by the founder of MBA, Stephen Maher, who becomes the chairman and chief executive.

orange quote mark
This is another hugely exciting move as we strengthen MSQ’s agencies and further establish our presence in the US. It’s a sign of our continued ambition to become one of the world’s most forward-thinking tech-enabled marketing groups and of the constant desire for change that drives us.”
Peter Reid, CEO and Founder