Jim Houghton joins Waypoint Partners to boost international M&A

Mark Johnson's picture
by Mark Johnson

Corporate finance and M&A expert Jim Houghton has joined growth and M&A advisory firm Waypoint Partners as Partner to lead its M&A activities and help accelerate its international expansion. 

The appointment sees Jim reunited with former colleagues including Partner Miles Welch, Business Development Director Angela Lurssen and Marketing Manager Sarah O’Neill.

Houghton joins Waypoint with more than 25 years of international experience working with and within marketing and communication businesses on corporate finance, including M&A, exit planning, joint ventures, deal structuring, post-merger integration and earnout management. 

The company said the depth and breadth of his experience gathered through more than 75 transactions across all major markets will further boost Waypoint’s capabilities in the space and further increase its capacity in handling major international deals.

Pivotal moment

Houghton’s appointment comes at a pivotal moment for Waypoint Partners, which last year grew from 12 to 20 employees and opened offices in New York and Edinburgh. 

The growth and M&A advisory firm also handled a string of high profile acquisition deals, including Draw’s sale to Oliver Wyman, Vivaldi’s purchase of Gravity Thinking and, most recently, Blueleaf’s sale to OSF Commerce.

Prior to joining Waypoint Partners, Jim built his Corporate Finance experience at BDO, Results International, Ingenious and Helion Partners. 

Before that, he led M&A for Omnicom Group in Europe for eight years and was European MD of the Radiate Group. 

Most recently, Jim was Chief Financial Officer at Philadelphia-headquartered creative agency 160over90, having sold the business to Searchlight Capital for $175m in 2016. 

Whilst there, he was integral in moving the business from owner-management to private equity ownership. Jim’s knowledge of the US will help Waypoint to unlock further growth in the market as it builds its business there.

Amongst other high-profile M&A deals Jim has personally led are BlueFocus’ acquisition of We Are Social in 2013, the sale of Blue Rubicon to LDC and its subsequent exit to Teneo in 2015, and the acquisition of Iris by Cheil in 2014.

“Having a heavyweight corporate finance expert of Jim’s calibre join Waypoint is a huge endorsement of our service agnostic approach to growth advisory and M&A and of our vision for the business as a global player”, said Miles Welch, Partner at Waypoint Partners. 

Significant knowledge

“Jim is one of a rare breed of advisor who combines significant knowledge of his craft with relationship and emotional intelligence. It’s a pleasure to be working with him again.”

Otto Stevens, Partner at Waypoint said: “I’m delighted that Jim is joining the Waypoint team. Jim combines unparalleled expertise in negotiating high profile deals with the ability to understand companies’ day-to-day problems and opportunities. 

“This relational approach is at the heart of our offer here at Waypoint. Jim’s commercial acumen and his ability to combine high level business strategy with the complex granular detail that these deals involve, will be invaluable to businesses trying to make sense of an increasingly complex M&A landscape.”

Commenting on his new appointment, Jim said: “I’m thrilled to be rejoining colleagues I have worked with so successfully in the past. 

“When it comes to M&A in the fast-moving marketing and tech industry, companies need advisors who understand the sector inside out. 

“The partners at Waypoint all have first-hand experience of leading companies in the creative, marketing and tech space. This means, when it comes to growth strategy and realising value, they have walked the walk. 

“Together with their unrivalled sector knowledge, they are ideally suited to identify the best strategic fit between parties in a deal. I’m looking forward to working with them to take our international M&A activities to the next level.”

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