Ankura buys McLarty Associates, receives investment from HPS

22 November 2021 3 min. read

Consulting firm Ankura has acquired McLarty Associates, a Washington, DC-based commercial diplomacy firm. The risk and corporate performance specialist also last week announced a minority investment from HPS Investment Partners.

Founded in 1998, McLarty Associates advises Fortune 200 companies and non-profits on international affairs, including market entry, political risk management, government relations, public-private partnerships, and regulatory change.

The firm is led by Thomas McLarty, former Clinton White House chief of staff; John Negroponte, former deputy secretary of state; and Nelson Cunningham, former special advisor to President Clinton on Western Hemisphere affairs.

Ankura buys McLarty Associates, receives investment from HPS

McLarty Associates has grown to nearly 100 advisors in over 20 countries and has supported 300 clients globally, including firms like Walmart, Chevron, and Door Dash.

Ankura’s acquisition of McClarty will bolster the firm’s capabilities in trade, risk management, and compliance advisory. The deal, which is slated to close in January 2022, will see the firm integrated into Ankura’s global team as “McLarty Associates, an Ankura Company.”

“Adding McLarty Associates to the Ankura family gives us a unique edge over our competitors by allowing us to provide actionable insights on what governments and society are demanding from businesses and organizations everywhere. Together, we will deliver deeply informed strategies, programs, and execution that are properly aligned with all stakeholders," said Tom Crawford, chief development officer at Ankura.

"Over the past decade, we've seen borders thicken, countries become increasingly protective of supply chains and workers and governments intervene strongly in their economies. The pandemic has only accelerated these trends,” Cunningham said. “Joining Ankura gives us an even greater capability to help our clients address these challenges, build competitive advantage, and succeed in this increasingly complex environment."

Ankura also announced that HPS Investment Partners would become a minority equity owner in a deal expected to close this calendar year. The investment values the New York-based consultancy at $1.5 billion.

Lead investor Madison Dearborn Partners (MDP) remains Ankura's majority shareholder. The private equity firm structured and arranged the investment from HPS.

MDP’s investment in 2016 enabled Ankura to bolt on the disputes, forensic, and legal technology segment and the transaction advisory services practice of Navigant in 2018. The significant deal boosted the firm’s headcount from under 600 to more than 1,400. Ankura today has more than 1,500 people serving 3,000+ clients in 55 countries.

"While our growth story, to date, is remarkable, we believe we are now positioned to accelerate our growth, creating even greater opportunities for our colleagues, and broadening the scope and end-to-end execution of services and solutions we provide to our clients around the world," said Ankura CEO Kevin Lavin.

Jefferies LLC and William Blair & Company are acting as financial advisors to Ankura, while Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is serving as legal advisor.