6th July 2017

Fishawack boosts healthcare marketing capabilities as Carling Communications joins the Group

The Fishawack Group of Companies, one of the largest independent medical communications organisations, has acquired the Carling Group of Companies, based in San Diego, CA, USA, and including Carling Communications and MCME Global.

Carling Communications is the first agency in the Fishawack Group to be focussed entirely on healthcare marketing, while MCME Global specialises in medical education.

Carling Communications was founded in 2010 by Didi Discar, leveraging over two decades of experience on the client and agency sides of pharmaceutical marketing. Carling has a team of nearly 100 who specialise in award-winning, full-service marketing, advertising, and physician communications for clients from the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries. Since its early focus in ophthalmology and dermatology, the agency has expanded its expertise to 35 therapeutic areas, including aesthetics, cardiovascular, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and pain management.

“Fishawack has already made six strategic acquisitions to expand our reach, capabilities, and client base,” explained Oliver Dennis, Chief Executive Officer of the Fishawack Group. “Our new investor, LDC, is supporting us to expand the group further. Our clients comprise a mix of medical affairs and commercial teams, and we have always offered a complete range of services to the former and with the addition of a creative agency we can now do the same for the latter. I’ve known Didi and her team for over 7 years, frequently partnering with Carling for their promotional capabilities, so Carling is a natural fit as our creative agency.”

As part of a true global network, Didi Discar, Principal at Carling, believes that the company can achieve even more for its valued clients and employees. “I believe that this signals a new beginning in what we can bring to our clients. Our skills complement each other and provide synergies that will significantly benefit current and future clients, while building on our shared vision of excellence, integrity, and respect.”

“Fishawack will benefit from a significant increase in our team based out of the expanded West Coast presence,” commented Gail Flockhart, Group Managing Director at Fishawack. “Adding an office in San Diego to our one in San Francisco will allow us to deliver better service for our California-based clients.”

This deal marks the first acquisition Fishawack has made since mid-market private equity investor LDC backed the buyout of the business in January 2017. Simon Braham, Investment Director at LDC, said: “Over the past six months we have been working closely with Oliver and his team to implement their growth strategy. This is a major milestone for Fishawack and we look forward to continuing to support the team.”

The newly formed group of companies received guidance from Ruth Percival at BDO, Craig Scott and Michael Murphy of Hill Dickinson LLP (UK), Beni Surpin and Carrie Long of Foley & Lardner, and Ed Batts, Chris Trester, and Eric Wall from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP (USA). Mathias Reiter and Chris Wilson of KPMG provided tax advice.