Business Development and PR Firms Used by Management Consultants
Below is a summary of key findings for business development companies and public relations firms. The findings identify top five business development companies that work with management consulting firms and top five public relations agencies that have served a number of leading management consulting firms.
Top Business Development Companies (BDC)
- Business development companies are understood to operate very similarly to private equity. These companies assist the small or medium-sized firms they invest in to grow, including in their development stage. BDCs are more highly regulated than private equity firms.
- Legally recognized BDCs invest in U.S. operating companies valued at under $250 million.
- "Top" BDCs are defined as those among the largest in terms of market capitalization for public companies and $1 billion or more of asset under management for private companies. A list of top publicly traded BDCs by market capitalization may be found here.
Business Development Corporation of America (BDCA)
- BDCA is a non-traded BDC focusing on middle market companies in a variety of industries.
- The company has two areas of focuses: structuring and downside protection.
- Targeted middle market companies are those with EBITDA between $10-$100 million.
- An example of a consulting firm that has worked with BDCA is Education Advisory Board, a management consulting firm for education industry.
Medley Capital Corporation (MCC)
- An NYSE-traded company, MCC lends directly to middle market companies to help them expand business, refinance and make acquisitions.
- The company considers itself an industry generalist with significant experience in wide range of industries, from healthcare to business services--of which management consulting is a subcategory.
Apollo Investment Corporation
- Apollo Investment Corporation is the top BDC by market capitalization. It invests primarily in private middle market companies.
- The company invests in a wide range of industries. Currently, business services industry (a part of which is management consulting) makes up 14.1% of its portfolio.
Portman Ridge Finance Corporation
- Portman Ridge is a leading publicly traded BDC investing in performing, well-established middle market companies.
- Portman Ridge is an industry generalist with experience in a wide range of industries, from manufacturing to business services.
- The company identifies the following characteristics for the businesses it invests in: EBITDA size of $5 to $25 million, history of generating consistent cash flows and stable financial performance, identifiable and defensible market positions in industries with favorable dynamics, and management teams with demonstrated track records and aligned incentives.
- A publicly traded BDC, Barings invests primarily in liquid non-investment grade debts at the initial stage, after which it will transition into primarily senior secured private debts of companies sponsored by private equity investors.
- Barings BDC has the following criteria: EBITDA of $10 million to $75 million, private equity sponsor-backed, history of growth and profitability, strong market position and competitive differentiation, and covenants and structural protections.
- It covers many industries, from consumer product to business services and technology.
Top Public Relations (PR) Firms
- "Top" PR firms are defined by their net fees from O'Dwyer's top 2019 PR firm Ranking.
- Edelman is the largest public relations and marketing firm by revenue with more than 60 offices around the world.
- The firm was hired by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to create content pieces for ads run on the Financial Times online on BCG's 50th anniversary.
- Prosek Partners is one of the leading PR firms focusing on financial and professional services sectors.
- The firm is known to have worked for Ernst & Young (EY).
- Pierpont Communications is a PR firm with expertise in PR, marketing, crisis management and public affairs. It has clients with big names, such as NASA and BCG.
- Pierpont has worked for BCG to evaluate the visibility of the consulting firm's energy industry team.
Highwire Public Relations
- Highwire is a modern high tech communications agency with roots in journalism and Silicon Valley.
- Among its many clients is PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC).
- Lanson Intermarket is an independent PR and marketing firm with clients in financial services, technology and education.
- Oliver Wyman, a leading international management firm, is a client of Lanson Intermarket.
To carry out this research, we separated our research into two categories: BDC and PR. Our research suggested that the top BDCs generally cover a variety of industries (not inclusively management consulting). We began our search with a list of top BDCs by market capitalization (if publicly traded) and asset under management of at least $1 billion (if private). We did not include top BDCs that we were unable to verify if they worked with management consulting firms. By law, BDCs work to support small and medium-sized companies; thus, it is highly unlikely that top consulting firms use their services. Please note that many of BDCs are subsidiaries of investment management firms that share similar names.
As for PR firms, we began with a list of firms ranked by their net fees (revenues). We ran searches for the previous works that these firms had done for top consulting firms identified in the initial research. Our research suggested that these consulting firms had used different PR firms at different occasions. We selected the PR firms ranked in the top 100 that made their projects with the consulting firms publicly known.