Integrated marketing agency The Bigger Boat has announced the acquisition of global B2B communication specialist Scriba PR, for an undisclosed sum.
The move — which follows almost eight years of the two Yorkshire firms working in close collaboration on a number of client projects — marks The Bigger Boat’s ambitions to expand its service portfolio for clients in the UK and beyond.
While the brands will continue to exist as individual entities in their own right, the deal means that the business duo now employs a total of 40 marketing professionals — looking after in excess of 70 retained clients — with a combined turnover of more than £2m.
Founder and former managing director Katie Mallinson will remain with Scriba in the position of director of communications — concentrating on the delivery of more complex client projects — while The Bigger Boat’s founders Andy McCaul, Doug Main, and Lee Boothroyd, will become owner directors of the company, supported by a leadership team which spans both firms.
Scriba — which marked its 10th anniversary this month having supported more than 200 clients during that time — has experienced significant growth over the past three years. The consultancy currently stands at number 22 in Prolific North’s Top 50 PR Agencies, and secured position 17 in the round-up of fastest-growing PR agencies in the North, last year. Meanwhile, The Bigger Boat is an award-winning, 25-strong digital marketing, brand and website specialist, which seeks to particularly expand the SEO and content marketing arms of its business, as it continually bolsters its integrated offering.
Commenting on the announcement, Andy McCaul, managing director of The Bigger Boat, said: “We pride ourselves on our ability to understand our clients’ organisations inside out, so we become an extension of their own teams. And our focus is on driving tangible results — we generate leads, increase sales and, ultimately, fuel growth to enhance their bottom lines.
“You could apply almost the exact same description to Scriba — an agency whose entire existence focuses on crafting words that make an impact — which is why the move makes perfect sense. Combining our in-house marketing expertise with Scriba’s wealth of experience and talent in the comms sphere, creates a suite of complementary services and the opportunity to deliver even more value for each of our expanding rosters of customers.”
Reflecting on the news, Scriba’s founder Katie Mallinson added: “Our story began on the toss of a coin — a leap of faith to prove that PR could be done differently. I believed I’d found a gap in the market helping technical firms with complex stories, but never could I have imagined it would grow to have the reputation — and team — I am so proud of today.
“Running a business — especially this one — is incredibly fulfilling and a huge privilege. The journey has not always been an easy one, but throughout it all, whatever Scriba’s size along the way, deep-rooted values and strong partnerships have seen us through, almost without us skipping a beat. It’s time, now, for someone else to take the reins.
“While I have loved being a managing director, I miss my craft. I have so many communications ideas I haven’t explored yet and that’s what excites me now – the opportunity to see what else I can do, knowing I’ve built an incredible business and it’s in safe hands.”
This is not the first time The Bigger Boat has considered an acquisition to take its growth to the next level, but no conversations have gathered momentum like this one, added creative director Doug Main.
“We have thought about various acquisitions over the last few years, but every opportunity has stalled due to the ‘fit’,” he explained. “With Scriba, it was a different story. We’ve collaborated for so long, the two businesses are like-minded with similar values, and we’ve worked hard to build relationships across the same industries.
“It doesn’t feel like an acquisition — it feels like two complementary teams working more closely together for the benefit of staff and clients alike. Onboarding Scriba’s content and strategic marketing expertise brings many opportunities for both agencies. It greatly strengthens our respective comms efforts and means we can offer customers not just new services, but a truly all-encompassing marketing strategy.”
Scriba – which counts 15 people within the team – will maintain its HQ in the loft of Heritage Mills in Lindley. All jobs will be retained and the hunt is already underway for an additional account manager. The Bigger Boat’s 25-strong crew will continue to reside in Wheatley Mills in Mirfield.