K Street firms starting to tap private equity, even go public

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K Street firms starting to tap private equity, even go public

On the business side of lobbying, many of the firms that sold out to big advertising conglomerates decades ago bought back their independence, including Cassidy & Associates, once the city’s top-grossing lobby firm, and BGR Group.

“This is a growth market,” said Bob Wood, chairman and CEO of BGR. “I don’t think there’s one model of success.

“There are certainly these larger rollups occurring, but you’re also seeing a boom in boutique firms, small firms, where people want to control our own destiny,” he added. “The model that we use, we haven’t decided. What we’re doing now allows us to be competitive. I think it’s exciting to see this type of investment in our field, and growth. And we expect to be a big part of that in the future.”

Hall, too, sees immediate change on the near horizon for the business of K Street.

“The influence industry and all its tools, I think it’s going to standardize and scale,” Hall said. “It’s been mom-and-pop for a long time, but our clients are requiring the scale. I think we’re at the beginning of something, not close to an endpoint. It may be a trickle right now, but I have a feeling it will turn into a torrent in the next 24 months.”