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Published in Finance

Jeff Lambert oversees strong year for acquisitions, startups

BY Sunday, February 14, 2021 04:30pm

As the COVID-19 pandemic was just starting to set in last spring, Jeff Lambert jotted down the words “positively legendary” on a sticky note.

For the Lambert & Co. CEO, it was a reminder to make 2020 a memorable one, and by most standards, it was.

Lambert & Co. CEO Jeff Lambert. COURTESY PHOTO

Lambert, whose company stands as the largest public relations and investor relations firm in Michigan, said that 2020 was the most active year in company history, complete with three different acquisitions and launching two startups.

“Any one of those would have been a highlight of a year in the past,” said Lambert, who was named winner in the executive category of the 2021 MiBiz M&A Dealmakers of the Year Awards.

Lambert & Co. gobbled up deals in 2020, which kicked off with a December 2019 deal that saw an acqui-hire of Michelle Olson and her Phoenix-based team, who were part of New York-based Fingerpaint Marketing. The move netted Lambert & Co. clients in automotive and mobility and real estate in addition to expanding its national footprint.

Just two months later, Lambert & Co. acquired New York-based Casteel Schoenborn Investor Relations & Corporate Communications, which has a seasoned investor relations practice with a specialty in financial services and the banking sector.

“That was in an area that’s national expertise for us — investor relations,” Lambert said of the CSIR deal. “So, we’re a top five investors relations firm nationally and if there is any IR firm for sale, we’re looking at it nationwide.”

In the spring of 2020, Lambert & Co. made a local acquisition in West Michigan-based Fairly Painless Advertising, a 30-year creative services agency. The deal, which was completed at the height of the pandemic, added copywriters, web developers and graphic designers to Lambert’s strategic communications and capital markets team.

“The Fairly Painless acquisition was really in response to our clients looking for more depth and integrated marketing and advertising so it made sense to add that 30-year track record to Lambert,” he said.

Finally, Lambert & Co. acquired the PR team of Houston-based national advertising and media buying firm 9thWonder, entering into a joint venture with the top-50 agency in which the duo will continue pursuing additional acquisitions.

“The addition of 9thWonder and joint venture was to take the Fairly Painless platform and put it on steroids — to really be able to have a national and global brand strategy firm in our family of companies,” Lambert said.

Deals aside, Lambert & Co. also launched fintech startup TiiCKER, which uses incentives to convert retail investors into consumers while also getting consumers to invest in the brands that they enjoy and interact with regularly.

Also, Lambert & Co. funded and launched a minority- and woman-owned diversity, equity and inclusion consultancy and diverse board development firm called EQUALSIGN. The firm landed clients spanning higher ed institutions, nonprofits and public companies, and was timely in a year that saw racial tensions boil over.

The breakneck pace is not one that Lambert said his company will slow down any time soon, noting that Lambert & Co. has the goal to complete two acquisitions in 2021 in addition to launching one innovation or startup.

While the COVID-19 pandemic certainly threw its share of hurdles at Lambert throughout the acquisitions process, he did come away learning a few of the benefits that come with this socially distanced approach at buying and integration.

“When looking at multi-market acquisitions or certainly non-local acquisitions, the ability to do onboarding, training and even culture build has gone virtual so the speed of integration is actually magnified,” Lambert said. “Honestly, we were concerned about the impact on our M&A relative to COVID. It actually will become part of our playbook — the combination of virtual and in-person.”

Read 1281 times Last modified on Monday, 15 February 2021 09:21
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