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Expanding into International Markets: PAN Communications Acquires UK-Based Capella PR

Philip A. Nardone, Jr.
President & Chief Executive Officer | Boston, MA
  • Blog
  • Culture/Agency Life
  • Agency News

Expanding into International Markets: PAN Communications Acquires UK-Based Capella PR

Philip A. Nardone, Jr.
President & Chief Executive Officer | Boston, MA
“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch, CEO, General Electric

When I founded PAN Communications 25 years ago, I was focused on challenging myself. After a decade of putting my all into my career, partnering with clients and truly remarkable colleagues, I knew it was time for a different type of adventure. I was ready to become a leader.

But what I didn’t know was that this agency and its people would transcend every expectation I had about what leadership could really mean. Each day has challenged and inspired me to aim higher and think bigger than the one before it.

PAN Communications' global approach and integrated services

I kicked-off my five-year plan in 2017 following PAN’s acquisition of Vantage PR. I’m beyond proud, today, to announce another turning point in achieving that goal: the acquisition of Capella PR and expansion into the UK. Between those two milestones, we’ve expanded PAN’s services, executed exceptional PR and marketing strategies, and become a trusted partner to tech and healthcare brands looking to tell their stories. PAN has maintained that mid-sized, personal approach, all while fine-tuning its global capabilities.

As we embark on this new journey transitioning Capella PR into PAN U.K., the people I am surrounded by are the key ingredient to making this acquisition a success. There’s no doubt that this decision to expand PAN’s roots internationally has challenged me personally, but it’s the leadership team and everyone who works within our agency’s walls that have supported my ideas and my vision since day one.

“Going global” has always been a goal of mine. Considering the growing needs of our clients and the interests of our employees, we knew now was the time to make it a reality. Our clients and partners are looking for a PR&IM firm that they can trust to bring their brand to life, internationally. Today, we can officially make that happen!

Welcoming Capella PR into the PAN Family

Selecting an organization during the acquisition process was not easy. My team and I spent months discussing PAN’s vision with agencies that were on the market, and in some cases, approaching agencies that weren’t looking to sell. It wasn’t just the service offerings that needed to align – we were looking for an agency that shared the same culture, values, business model and strategies.

Make no doubt about it, Capella PR hits each and every one of the attributes I was looking for in a U.K. agency. Co-Founder, Gareth Thomas, has created a result-oriented PR firm filled with passionate practitioners who share his commitment to our industry, zest for life and passion for one another.

A quick look into our thinking:

  • Capella presents tremendous growth opportunities for PAN and its clients. PAN’s extensive technology portfolio has room for growth, and we see Capella as an important steppingstone. We look forward to expanding our expertise into up-and-coming “X-tech” markets such as Health IT, fintech, retail tech and insurance tech through Capella’s impressive network in the UK and beyond.
  • PAN and Capella share core values and a people-first mindset. Capella Co-founders Gareth Thomas and Nia Evans instill the same levels of trust, transparency and inclusivity in their staff as I do with PAN employees. Sharing these values made this transition nearly seamless and was a critical part of the decision.
  • Customer demand for an international presence. Both PAN and Capella clients have expressed interest in global communications strategies that require roots in new markets. PAN will continue to offer the same personalized approaches to marketing and PR across all five office locations but will now allow clients to expand with us internationally – beyond just the U.K. – should they so choose.
What This Acquisition Means for PAN Employees

Because mission and values were top priorities throughout our decision-making process, it is my promise to our staff that this acquisition will only strengthen the incredible, award-winning culture we have at PAN Communications.

I pride myself in leading an organization that begins and ends with its people, and I have every intention of maintaining that approach as PAN brings Capella into the fold. Both firms align in our vision to create a workplace free of office politics and full of passion and integrity. We break the traditional agency mold by offering our employees the work-life balance and flexibility we feel everyone deserves.

Furthermore, PAN’s emphasis on training and development will only become stronger through this acquisition. Entering the UK market means learning and sharing new approaches to PR and marketing, and we look forward to the positive impact that it will have on employees from both sides of this partnership.

What’s Next for PAN?

Moving further into our five-year plan, I’m often asked what’s left to achieve for PAN. While I have forward-looking ideas, goals and strategies that we will continue to implement across the agency (well beyond the five-year mark we set in 2016), our team’s number one priority TODAY is ensuring Capella’s transition into PAN Communications runs smoothly and successfully.

In doing so, we’ve set a few overarching goals for PAN in the coming years:

  • To maintain the highest level of commitment and success to our clients across each of PAN’s five regions.
  • To build out our international presence and make PAN a household name in the U.K.
  • To work closely with Gareth and his leadership team to secure partnerships with brands seeking international ties and capabilities.
  • To continue offering travel flexibility and work-life balance opportunities for our employees as a people-first agency.

I look forward to the opportunities, adventures and successes that this acquisition will bring for PAN. From the bottom of my heart, I THANK all of the members of my Executive Team and the entire staff for their support throughout this journey. It took me out of the office quite a bit over the past year and you all have stepped-up. I am beyond proud to lead this PANtastic organization. Here’s to the next chapter!


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