Foster + Partners announces partnership with Hennick & Company

15 October 2021 4 min. read

Architecture firm Foster + Partners has confirmed a new strategic partnership with private investment firm Hennick & Company. Professional services firm Alantra advised Foster + Partners on the deal.

Founded in 1967, Foster + Partners is a studio for architecture, infrastructure, design, and engineering services. It hosts a global team of 1,500 professionals from offices in 14 international cities. As well as being headquartered in London, the firm also has studios in Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Dubai, Hong Kong, Madrid, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Singapore and Sydney.

Towards the end of 2020, the firm started to explore long-term structures for the practice that would respond to the challenges and opportunities of a disruptive market, while encouraging next generation leaders to come to the fore.  In order to facilitate this transformation, the architecture house has secured new backing from Hennick & Company. According to Norman Foster, Executive Chairman of Foster + Partners, this evolution has the potential to “expand the range and depth of our studio – particularly in the fields of sustainability, infrastructure, urbanisation and recycling.”

Foster + Partners announces partnership with Hennick & Company

Matthew Streets, Senior Executive Managing Partner at Foster + Partners, added, “Our new partnership further fortifies the strong foundation upon which our practice was built. This long-term investment horizon and partnership philosophy were important factors in our decision to align with them. On behalf of all the professionals and partners of Foster + Partners, we could not be more excited about the future.”

Hennick & Company is a private family investment firm that invests in growth-oriented businesses and real estate for the long-term. Established by the Hennick family, which founded and owns a significant interest in Colliers International and FirstService Corporation, the organisation has since made investments in professional services, financial services, and manufacturing businesses as well as institutional quality real estate properties. As a privately-owned company backed by permanent capital, Hennick & Company can invest in any industry or geography, in private or publicly traded businesses, at any point in the economic cycle.

Brad Hennick, Managing Director of Hennick & Company, said, “We are proud to partner with Lord Foster, his family and the other highly accomplished professionals and partners of this iconic global brand. This new partnership presents a unique opportunity to leverage our experience and long-term perspective to strengthen Foster + Partners’ position as the world’s preeminent architecture, infrastructure, engineering, and design consultancy. We look forward to working with the practice’s exceptional leadership team and partner shareholders to harness the extraordinary skills within the practice to grow into new and exciting areas in the years to come.”

Going forward, Foster and his family will remain the practice’s largest shareholders after the Hennick family, who acquired a significant interest as part of this transaction. Foster will also continue to serve as Executive Chairman. The practice’s existing partners will all remain as long-term shareholders and retain the balance of the equity, while remaining in their current roles and the existing leadership team will retain responsibility for day-to-day operations.

At the same time, the long-term agreement establishes a ‘perpetual partnership model’ that enables the practice to expand beyond its current 180 partners, ensuring that the next generation of professionals can become shareholders in the practice, and allows for an orderly succession of existing partners over the long-term. To mark the occasion, Foster + Partners also announced that 24 of the current Partners were promoted to the position of Senior Partner. At a general meeting of the shareholders, 100% of the partners voted and were unanimous in their support of the partnership with Hennick & Company.

Independent advisory firm Alantra advised Foster + Partners throughout the dealmaking process. Alantra has worked with the Foster + Partners team for over 15 years, having advised on strategic plans, investment to support significant growth and the practice’s transition of the ownership of the business to a long-term partnership model.

Andy Currie, Managing Partner at Alantra who led the deal, said, “One of the most rewarding aspects of what we do is completing transformative deals for longstanding clients and we are very proud to have been involved in this highly significant transaction for Foster + Partners and the Hennick family. The introduction of a perpetual partnership model that accommodates new joiners and leavers will allow the firm to continue to prosper under a partnership model and to maintain its world-leading position in design and architectural services.”