Ex-Fianna Fáil adviser Dan Pender sells 360 communications group to US buyer

Finn Partners has been working with the Irish agency for IDA Ireland abroad

Dan Pender and his employees at 360, which has been taken over by US communications group Finn Partners. Photograph: Andres Poveda

Dan Pender and his employees at 360, which has been taken over by US communications group Finn Partners. Photograph: Andres Poveda

 

Former Government adviser Dan Pender has sold his 360 public relations and lobbying business to large US communications group Finn Partners.

The 10-year-old Irish agency is being acquired by the US group for an undisclosed sum. The business, which was about 93 per cent owned by Mr Pender before the sale, had assets on its balance sheet at the end of 2020 of €1.1 million.

Mr Pender is a former Fianna Fáil press officer who also served as special adviser to Martin Cullen, when the latter was a minister in the Bertie Ahern-led coalition with the Progressive Democrats until 2007. He is staying on after the Finn acquisition as managing partner of the Irish division, which will be restyled as 360, a Finn Partners Company.

The firm employs 17 staff in Dublin and its roster of clients includes Liberty Insurance, care group Home Instead and Irish Distillers.

Mr Pender’s business was approached about a buyout by Finn Partners, with which it has been working in the UK, Germany and France on behalf of IDA Ireland, the State’s foreign investment agency.

Finn Partners, which focuses on areas such as health, pharmaceuticals and travel communications, was founded by US businessman Peter Finn in 2011.

Mr Finn is a veteran US communications executive and son of the late David Finn, a legendary PR consultant whose clients included assassinated US president John F Kennedy and tycoon JD Rockefeller. David Finn died two months ago, age 100.

The company employs more than 900 people worldwide and says it generates fee income of almost $170 million (€151 million). Its acquisition of 360 is just the latest in a flurry of buyouts it has completed recently.

Last month, for example, Finn announced deals in the US to buy the Pharmacy Podcast Network news service, travel PR firm Hawkins International and also the Anthology Marketing Group in Hawaii. It also recently bought InHealth Communications in the UK.

Mr Pender said the sale is a “milestone” for the Irish business. He said 360 had increasingly been pitching for international business and now, as a result of the sale to Finn, “our ability to move to the next level is fast-tracked”.

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