Prosper Group Announcement Release

For Immediate Release

Rapid Growth Sparks Prosper Group to Add Four Top Marketing Professionals to Team of Strategic Advisors

Long-time Agency and Industry Veterans Kathy Cripps, Rum Ekhtiar,
Ken Jacobs and John Seng Tapped to Help Agency Owners Build, Improve or Sell

CONTACT:

Doug Baxter
doug@prospergroup.net

NEW YORK – Feb. 10, 2017 – Prosper Group announced the addition of four high-profile marketing communications strategic advisors in response to its rapidly growing agency client roster. Kathy Cripps, Ken Jacobs and Rum Ekhtiar will join the firm’s office in New York, while John Seng will be based in Washington D.C – further solidifying Prosper Group’s position and reach as the leading national advisory firm to owners of marketing communication agencies.

“We’ve recently experienced an explosive growth in business, specifically with clients looking for help in areas typically faced when agencies are looking to grow, such as developing a next generation leadership team and improving the agency new business development approach or a key leader(s) ability to sell agency services through the new business process,” said David Bosses, Partner and M&A Practice Group leader at Prosper Group.

Prosper Group was developed to help owners of marketing communications firms eliminate obstacles to agency’s growth, design and eliminate succession plans and facilitate M&A related transactions. Advisors work closely with clients to ensure their agency can support the owner’s specialized, desired path for transition and help them find a meaningful transaction.

“With decades of knowledge leading and advising marketing and communication companies from all over the word, the combined acumen of these new advisors will offer specialized insight to help our clients accelerate and amplify their growth trajectory,” added Alex Halbur, Prosper Group’s Managing Partner. “Their addition will allow us to better address the specific issues our clients are facing in the ever-evolving realm of public relations, digital, branding, advertising and public affairs.”

About Prosper Group’s newest members:

Kathy Cripps:
Former President of the PR Council for more than 14 years, Kathy has specialized insight into the evolution of the marketing and communications industry. She had a successful career with two multinational PR firms, and was the founder/principal of an independent healthcare PR firm that was successfully sold. She has held leadership positions in healthcare and consumer marketing at today’s leading PR and marketing firms, counseled CEOs, worked with procurement and created learning and development programs for employees. Kathy also serves as a board member of the PRSA Foundation, which focuses on diversity and inclusion in the public relations industry.

Rum Ekhtiar:
A respected industry expert with a proven track record of generating multi-million dollar opportunities, Rum has been helping agencies transform and grow for nearly 20 years – holding senior business development roles at three global agencies. A former expat with on-the-ground experience in Europe and Asia, he’s led global teams across healthcare, technology and financial services. Most recently, Rum launched an integrated marketing practice at Ruder Finn called RF Radius – growing the team to 26 and fees in the double digit millions in the short span of two and half years.

Ken Jacobs:
An industry-leading coach for PR and communications agency owners and senior leaders, Ken is a regular advisor and presenter to PRSA and has held leadership roles with the top PR and marketing firms. He is also an Associate Certified Coach of the International Coach Federation (ICF), and is certified by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching as a Certified Professional Coach (CPC).

John Seng:
A 35-year veteran of multinational PR firms, John’s expertise includes counsel to agency leadership on client service, management and personnel issues; agency branding, marketing and trouble-shooting. John built Spectrum Science Communications, Inc., and now oversees the process of a successful succession and internal sale. Spectrum was honored as the 2016 Holmes Report Healthcare Agency of the Year and employs a staff of 80 with offices throughout the U.S. In addition, John founded GLOBALHealthPR, the only worldwide network of independent agencies focused exclusively on healthcare. He was elected to the Arthur W. Page Society of communications counselors in 2015.

About Prosper Group
Prosper Group was founded in September 2014 to bring the expertise of former agency owners and leaders of global agencies to independent agency owners looking for support in charting a course for their future. Prosper Group serves as performance improvement, succession planning and M&A transaction advisors to owners of marketing communications agencies. Prosper Group has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and San Francisco.

Additional Information www.prospergroup.net.

Prosper Group/Mark Irion Announcement Release

For Immediate Release

Mark Irion Joins Prosper Group as Senior Advisor

Irion to Lead the Agency Advisory Firm’s Advocacy & Public Affairs Practice

CONTACT:

June 8, 2016, Washington DC – Prosper Group, a leading advisory firm to owners of marketing communication agencies, announced the appointment of Mark Irion as Senior Advisor.

“Throughout Mark’s career he has consistently demonstrated the ability to explosively grow public affairs, lobbying and crisis communication agencies that deliver excellent service for clients and enviable operating margins for the agencies themselves,” Alex Halbur, General Manager of Prosper Group, said. “Mark’s success in navigating firms through leadership transitions and the integration of digital service offerings will further augment the services and talent that Prosper Group can deliver to its clients.” Halbur stated.

Prior to joining Prosper Group, Irion served as President of DC-based Levick, a crisis communication and public affairs firm. While at Levick, Irion helped the firm achieve unprecedented revenue growth over a three-year period. During his tenure, he also engineered the firm’s successful recruitment program, led internal restructuring, and implemented a strategic acquisition strategy.

Additionally, Mark served as CEO of Dutko Worldwide for 17 years where he guided the agency’s growth to annual revenue of $34 million. He managed the firm through two major transactions, including the sale to a private equity partner, Lake Capital, and six years later a final exit to a European-based strategic buyer, Huntsworth, LLP. Following the acquisition by Huntsworth, he served as Regional CEO and Global Chair of Public Affairs for Huntsworth’s flagship public relations brand, Grayling. There he focused on integrating Dutko and Grayling into a globally unified practice.

“Since Prosper Group’s successful completion of the SKDKnickerbocker sale last October, we have experienced a significant increase in the number of engagements with public affairs, lobbying and crisis communications agencies both on the consulting and M&A side of our business,” explained David Bosses, Prosper Group’s Partner in charge of M&A. “With the addition of Mark to our team, we bring greater capacity to help our clients deliver best-in-class ongoing operating performance and navigation of acquisition, merger and integration strategies and transactions.” Prosper Group is in a stronger position than ever to continue serving the needs of public affairs and crisis firms not only in the Washington, D.C. and New York City markets, but throughout the U.S.” About Prosper Group Alex Halbur, David Bosses, and Larry Kamer founded Prosper Group in September 2014 to bring the expertise of former agency owners and leaders of global agencies to independent agency owners looking for support in charting a course for their future. Prosper Group serves as performance improvement, organizational development and transaction advisors to owners of marketing communications agencies. Prosper Group has offices in New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Additional Information www.prospergroup.net.

Prosper Group/Doug Baxter Announcement Release 06.15.16

For Immediate Release

Doug Baxter is the latest Addition to Prosper Group’s Growing Team of Strategic Advisors

A leader in digital marketing, Baxter to provide business growth and profitability strategies for firms expanding digital capabilities

CONTACT:

doug-wall

Doug Baxter
doug@prospergroup.net

Date Line – Prosper Group, a leading advisory firm to owners of marketing communication agencies, announced the appointment of Doug Baxter as Senior Counselor.

“Doug is an expert at putting digital into an agency’s DNA,” Alex Halbur, Prosper Group’s General Manager stated. “He is highly skilled at leading independent agency owners in the development of digital and creative capabilities in order to remain relevant and enhance their competitive position in the marketplace.”

According to Halbur, clients are demanding greater sophistication from their agencies in the form of analytics, digital content, user experience and deeper social media strategy. He also noted that many traditional, independent public relations and public affairs agencies are unsure with how to best become more digitally focused.
“Doug will lead Prosper Group’s comprehensive approach in developing agency-specific strategies including designing, building and staffing in-house capabilities and integrating the digital offerings with a firm’s more traditional service offerings,” Halbur said.

Prior to joining Prosper Group, Doug served as Managing Partner at M&C Saatchi’s North American digital and social agency SHARE during a period of explosive revenue growth. Additional experience includes creating iO Group, one of the U.S.’ and Europe’s fastest growing online media groups. Baxter also started Robot & Child, a marketing firm that was eventually acquired by Fraser Communications. In total, Doug has started, acquired and sold over 15 different agencies and digital brands across the marketing communication spectrum.

“An entrepreneur throughout his career, Doug has founded, grown and sold numerous digitally focused agencies. Through those experiences, he is very familiar with the merger & acquisition process and has extensive knowledge of the global digital buying community,” David Bosses, leader of Prosper’s M&A practice added.

Doug will be located at the heart of the burgeoning U.S. digital hotbed, Silicon Beach in Los Angeles.

About Prosper Group

Alex Halbur and David Bosses founded Prosper Group in September 2014 to bring the expertise of former agency owners and leaders of global agencies to independent agency owners looking for support in charting a course for their future. Prosper Group serves as performance improvement, organizational development and transaction advisors to owners of marketing communications agencies. Prosper Group has offices in New York, Washington DC and Los Angeles.

Additional Information www.prospergroup.net.

PR Industry Executives Launch Prosper Group

New Consultancy Helps Marketing Communication Agency Owners
Improve Performance and Implement Successful Exit Strategies

CONTACT:

Alex Halbur
ahalbur@prospergroup.net
(310) 936-3774

alex-halbur

(NEW YORK, October 2, 2014) – An experienced team of marketing communications agency management specialists and entrepreneurs has launched Prosper Group, a consultancy with the mission of enhancing agency owner exit options and wealth through increased agency performance, leadership development, succession planning and exit strategy execution.

The firm was founded by Managing Partner Alex Halbur and Partners David Bosses and Larry Kamer. The group represents great depth and breadth of experience in public relations agency, marketing communication agency, digital agency, branding agency, and public affairs agency practice; agency operational excellence; buy-side and sell-side transaction management; agency organization and leadership development. Prosper places a particular emphasis on ensuring that agencies have the right people in the right positions for next-generation growth.

Halbur was managing partner of Option A Advisors and a founding partner of FischerHealth, which was acquired by Omnicom in 2003.

Bosses served as executive vice president of acquisition strategies at IPG’s Constituency Management Group and CFO of several agencies including Chandler Chicco, MWW, and FutureBrand.

Kamer founded and owned Kamer Singer & Associates, a public affairs firm acquired by GCI in 1999; he also served as North American President at MS&L and Senior Partner/West Region Director at Fleishman Hillard.

Prosper Group has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC, San Francisco and Austin TX.

“Prosper Group exists to help agency owners realize maximum value from their life’s work,” said Halbur. “We understand and have lived through the ebbs and flows of growing firms, acquisitions and integrations. That, along with successful hands-on experience, has motivated us to apply our insights and methodologies to help our clients achieve their goals.”

Halbur explained that Prosper Group differentiates itself in the marketplace by being exit strategy agnostic. “It’s not always about selling an agency to a large holding company. There are several viable paths owners can take to monetize the business asset they’ve created. The key is to ensure the right operational, business development and succession planning strategies are in place — and delivering results — prior to pulling the exit trigger,” he said.

Prosper Group’s comprehensive service offering helps owners improve client agency performance while working with owners to determine optimal exit options. From there, Prosper Group designs and executes customized succession and exit plan strategies – including the establishment of next-generation leadership – that match the objectives unique to each business owner.

More information at www.prospergroup.net.

Prosper Group Advises SKDKnickerbocker In Acquisition By Steve Ballmer/Mark Penn Led Investment Firm Stagwell Group

Latest in Series of 2015 Deals, Consulting Assignments for Prosper Group

CONTACT:
Prosper Group Consultancy, LLC

David Bosses
david@propsergroup.net

New York (October 9) – Prosper Group, a consulting firm advising owners of marketing communications agencies, served as transaction advisors to SKDKnickerbocker in SKDK’s sale to Stagwell Group, which the parties announced on October 8th.

Stagwell Group is an investment company launched in June 2015 by communications veteran Mark Penn with financial backing from Steve Ballmer.

SKDK, a public affairs firm founded in 2010 with offices in DC, New York and Albany, develops and executes strategy, media relations and crisis communications for some of the world’s largest brands, associations and non-profits. The firm is noteworthy for its work with political candidates, referenda, and issue campaigns across the country.
Prosper Group was founded in 2014 by industry veterans Alex Halbur, Larry Kamer, and David Bosses.
Prosper Group’s work with SKDK included identifying and evaluating offers from multiple buyers, advising throughout the negotiation process, and counsel during due diligence, legal documentation, and will play a role in the integration process.

Bosses, who heads the firm’s New York office, led the assignment and said the deal was a milestone for Prosper Group both in size and complexity of the transaction. “Without a doubt, SKDK is best of breed among strategic communications and public affairs firms. It’s the initial investment for Stagwell Group and provides a great start for the implementation of their growth strategy. The planning, discussion, and attention to detail that made this deal possible will help propel SKDK to the next level and yield tremendous benefits for its clients, employees, and its owners,” Bosses said.

SKDK New York Managing Partner Josh Isay said Bosses and Prosper Group were indispensible during the process. “A transaction like this requires the counsel of a seasoned professional to guide us through the process from valuation, negotiation, due diligence, document review, and closing. We wanted a successful deal, but we had to stay focused on our clients, our employees, and our business. Having David Bosses and Prosper Group by our side allowed us to do that,” Isay said.

Prosper Group is celebrating its first anniversary this month. Managing Partner Alex Halbur said the firm’s breadth of experience in public relations, digital, and public affairs firms has propelled Prosper Group’s involvement with a number of transactions in the past 12 months, including:

  • M&C Saatchi in its acquisition of Glendale, CA – based digital marketing agency Heavenspot
  • Nuffer Smith Tucker in its acquisition of public relations agency The Gable Group, both in San Diego
  • More than a dozen confidential relationships with other firms to provide consulting services in the areas of agency performance improvement, agency owner transition and exit planning, next-generation management recruitment and development as well as M&A transactions including internal sales, external sales, divestitures, and ESOPs.

ABOUT PROSPER GROUP CONSULTANCY, LLC

Alex Halbur, Larry Kamer, and David Bosses founded Prosper Group in September 2014 to bring the expertise of former agency owners and leaders of global agencies to independent agency owners looking for support in charting a course for their future. Prosper Group serves as performance improvement, organizational development and transaction advisors to owners of marketing communications agencies. Prosper Group has offices in New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Learn more: www.prospergroup.net.