NEWS21 April 2011

SPA Future Thinking acquires Munro Group


UK— SPA Future Thinking has acquired Munro Group, the parent company for research agencies FDS International and Maven Research.

Jon Priest (pictured), SPA Future Thinking’s group CEO told Research that his long-term relationship with Munro chief Richard Hepburn was central to the deal, which has been financed by SPA Future Thinking’s majority shareholders, the private equity group Next Wave Partners.

Hepburn will take a seat on the SPA Future Thinking board and serve as “a sort of interim managing director” to oversee the integration of the FDS and Maven businesses. Priest said: “Richard’s key. It was a condition that he came on board.”

Charlotte Cornish, currently FDS managing director and Munro chief operating officer, will leave the company. Priest said that Cornish felt she had “come out of retirement” to set up Munro, and that she now wanted to take some time out. But he added that the “door was open for her to return in the future”.

Priest said the acquisition adds benchmarking, employee engagement, online dashboard reporting and mystery shopping capabilities to SPA Future Thinking, as well as increasing the number of blue chip clients.

The entire Munro Group will be integrated into the SPA Future Thinking brand, taking total headcount to more than 150.

Looking ahead, Priest said the firm was likely to make future acquisitions, both in the UK and overseas on an “ongoing basis”. He said: ” We may be looking to make an announcement later on in the year.”