Barabino & Partners, Italy’s largest corporate communications firm, joins Excellera Advisory Group, Italy’s leading corporate affairs advisory group. Founded in November 2022, through the partnership between Cattaneo Zanetto Pomposo & Co. and Community with the support of Xenon Private Equity, over the past year Excellera was joined by both Public Affairs Advisors and Value Relations.

The entry of the firm founded in 1985 by Luca Barabino marks a major step forward in the process of growth of Excellera, which was set up with the aim of establishing an aggregative platform of outstanding companies in their respective fields. Indeed, with this deal, the Group will get under its umbrella the top two Italian communication firms by size and value: Barabino & Partners and Community, founded by Auro Palomba. Alongside them there is the leading public affairs consultancy CZP, founded by Alberto Cattaneo, Paolo Zanetto and Claudia Pomposo, which is working along with Public Affairs Advisors (by Giovanni Galgano) and Value Relations (by Massimo Cherubini and Marco Giorgetti), specialising in energy&infrastructure and life science, respectively.

Today’s deal, which will be completed by the end of May, will therefore follow the same pattern around which the whole project was designed: the industry leaders will keep their brands and management autonomy, continuing to operate in perfect competition as they already do now.

As of today, Excellera can thus boast a total turnover exceeding EUR 60 million, about 300 among employees and collaborators, and an EBITDA of EUR 20 million, positioning itself at the top of the industry in Italy and at the forefront in Europe.

This agreement marks a significant strategic move, both in terms of size increase and market positioning, nationally and internationally: the Group’s leadership in Italy is strengthening with the addition of Barabino & Partners, thanks to its Genoa office, which adds to the existing ones in Milan, Rome, and Treviso. This way, the network will be increased, as it can work across all national territories, coupled with a well-established presence abroad, either directly with B&P UK, Deutschland and USA, with offices and branches located in London, New York City and Berlin, or through its B2P Communications Consulting GmbH subsidiary (100%), with offices in Munich, Paris, and Berlin, which will be added to the Group’s presence in Brussels, where both B2P and  CZP has offices.

The Group’s size and extensive nationwide presence will turn Excellera into a major hub for any global company seeking corporate, financial, brand, communication & governance affairs advisory in Italy, as well as reputation building, and its extensive overseas offices will be devoted to supporting Italian companies in their international expansion.

“In just over a year since Excellera’s establishment, we have achieved major milestones: a 14% increase in turnover on a like-for-like basis, the entry of Value Relations, Public Affairs Advisors and today of Barabino & Partners, enabling us to take a further crucial step forward in shaping a solid and excellent Group from every point of view, financial or industrial. Our distinctive feature lies in being financial investors with a keen focus on business issues to assist entrepreneurs in building national champions across fragmented sectors. We founded Excellera with that in mind, and with the same approach we are building its development to make it a centre of excellence in high-level professional services that can compete in every market,” said Franco Prestigiacomo, Founding Partner and Managing Director of Xenon Private Equity, and Gianfranco Piras, Partner of Xenon Private Equity and Chairman of Excellera.

“We are excited to welcome our new partners and colleagues at Barabino & Partners and – above all – to be able to draw on new talented professionals who will add further to our great experience in corporate affairs, even at an international level. The management autonomy of each brand is a key element to develop the individual companies and the Group as a whole. Yet, throughout this year of working together, we have shown that by walking hand in hand we can reach our goals faster and with greater satisfaction,” commented Paolo Zanetto, CEO of Excellera Advisory Group.

“On the corporate, issue, financial, and reputation communications market Excellera is actually represented by two well-established firm that compete in an open and transparent market, and that are also deemed to be the most respected and well-positioned ones on the market – namely B&P and Community – along with the leading institutional relations group made up of with CZP, Value Relations and PAA,” Auro Palomba, CEO of Community, added.

Luca Barabino will maintain his role as CEO at B&P and, together with Federico Steiner, who will continue as B&P’s General Manager, and a group of ‘Key People’ operational colleagues gathered in Barabino&PartnersFutura, will reinvest in the holding company.

As envisaged for other shareholders, even Barabino&PartnersFutura will appoint two directors for the Excellera Group’s Board of Directors: Luca Barabino and Federico Steiner will join the BoD together with Auro Palomba and Giuliano Pasini (Always On), Alberto Cattaneo, Claudia Pomposo, and Paolo Zanetto, as well as the majority representatives from the Xenon Fund, which also appointed Gianfranco Piras as Chairman.

“Barabino&PartnersFutura is our investment vehicle in Excellera Advisory Group, and it is a testament to several generations of incumbent and young B&P professionals to whom we extend our appreciation for the path we have undertaken from the early days until today, to the commitment to a new industrial project, where we bring our distinguished features and business culture, in the name of both sharing and dedication,” said Luca Barabino, CEO of Barabino&Partners.

“The development model behind what the market is already referring to as the ‘Italian Communications Champion’ will be based on distinct independence in the marketplace and will most certainly be meaningful if we look at the aggregation phenomenon that is taking place in the world, with the ultimate goal of communicating the specific features of Italian industry and Made in Italy in all its facets, on an international scale,” Federico Steiner,  General Manager of Barabino&Partners, added.

“For Federico Steiner and I, the idea of designing a new entrepreneurial adventure, with different size and commitment, representing our country, together with Auro Palomba, Alberto Cattaneo, Paolo Zanetto, Claudia Pomposo, Massimo Cherubini, Marco Giorgetti, and Giovanni Galgano, as well as with the new generations of professionals, is a real source of motivation, a new way of sharing perspectives. Doing so with outstanding and valuable people, who were estimated competitors or professionals until yesterday and who are now our ‘colleagues,’ is really motivating,” Luca Barabino added.

B&P’s advisors for the transaction were Eversheds Sutherland for M&A, labor laws, IP, and seller-side deal structuring matters, Cattaneo Dall’Olio Rho &Partners for strategic and tax matters, as well as by ZNR Notai for corporate bylaws and constitution aspects. On an international level, B&P was assisted by Belluzzo International Partners in the UK, Funaro & Co. in the U.S., and Donà Viscardini in Germany. B2P Communications GmbH was advised by Mazars GmbH & Co. KG in Germany and RSM France in France.

Excellera Advisory Group was assisted by Gatti Pavesi Bianchi Ludovici in Italy, Pinsent Masons in Germany and the UK, and Becker in the US as legal advisors. Deloitte acted as financial advisor for the deal, and PwC TLS Avvocati e Commercialisti for fiscal matters.