01 Dec 2017 | 09.51 am
Stakeholder Communications Acquired By MCE
New life for Tom Kelly’s liquidated PR firm
01 Dec 2017 | 09.51 am
Belfast-based PR agency MCE has acquired Stakeholder Communications, after the latter firm was liquidated in November, related to an unpaid tax bill of more than £200,000.
Stakeholder Communications was founded in the mid-90s by Tom Kelly, who has a long career in media and politics in Northern Ireland. Kelly was chosen to head up the Belfast office for Dublin PR company Drury Communications – he subsequently bought that venture out and relaunched it as Stakeholder Communications.
Stakeholder operated as a full-service communications consultancy, with PR, public affairs, event management and design teams. It employed more than 20 people up to 2016, although the team had been whittled down to around six prior to the firm’s liquidation, according to media reports.
Filed accounts for Stakeholder in 2016 showed accumulated profits of £53,000 and net worth of £54,000. Liabilities on the 2016 balance sheet amounted to £248,000, down 10% on the year before.
The company said that it had been hampered by historical issues that only came to light this year. A creditors’ voluntary arrangement was rejected by British revenue authorities, which brought a winding-up petition against Stakeholder. That was granted by the High Court in Belfast in early November 2017.
MCE had already intimated its interest in acquiring Stakeholder by this time. The acquisition includes the transition of six full-time Stakeholder staff, with Tom Kelly being retained as a consultant.
Commenting on the deal, Paul McErlean (pictured), managing director of MCE, said: “We had been in discussion with Stakeholder for some time and we are now very glad to get this deal agreed, retain all of the staff and move the clients across seamlessly to MCE.”
Tom Kelly said that his firm’s acquisition will provide continuity for staff and clients. “There are already good synergies between the two companies, which will improve with Stakeholder now fully integrated into the MCE business.
“It’s a positive start to a new beginning and on a personal level, I am looking forward to working with Paul as a consultant to the company.”
MCE was founded in 2006 by Paul McErlean, the current chair of the Public Relations and Communications Association in Northern Ireland. It employs 24 staff.