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Teneo In Talks To Buy WestExec Advisors

 |  June 7, 2022

Teneo Holdings is close to a deal to buy an advisory firm that would expand the well-known public relations firm’s focus on geopolitical and policy consulting.

Teneo could finalize a deal to buy a majority stake in Washington, D.C.-based WestExec Advisors as soon as Wednesday, according to people familiar with the matter.

Roughly a year ago, Teneo’s future was on shaky ground after its founder, Declan Kelly, resigned following reports of drunken misbehavior at a charity event. Kelly, a close collaborator of Hillary Clinton and one-time economic envoy to Ireland during her tenure as Secretary of State, was replaced by former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, before stepping down herself in favor of original founder Paul Keary.

Teneo went on to post 2021 revenue of nearly $500 million, and expects it to grow by about 10% this year, the people said. Its head count increased by roughly 600 people to about 1,500 staff located around 38 offices worldwide, with about half of the increase coming from its acquisition of Deloitte’s U.K. restructuring business.

WestExec was founded by former Obama administration officials Michèle Flournoy, Sergio Aguirre and Nitin Chadda. Its staff, numbering roughly 40 people, specializes in helping companies understand policy or geopolitical issues such as trade dynamics and use that knowledge to make business decisions. It has a particular focus on the security and defense industries.

Teneo made a minority investment in WestExec in 2021. The firm’s name comes from “West Executive Avenue,” the closed street crossed by those en route to the West Wing of the White House, according to its website.

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