Incepta, the marketing and public relations firm, yesterday branched out into detective work with the purchase of the US-based Global Intelligence and Security.
The company, which owns the London-based financial PR firm Citigate Dewe Rogerson, is paying an initial $3.5m (£2.4m) for the recently-formed intelligence business including a $3m cash fee with the balance to be paid in shares.
The price could end up as high as $44m if the company hits certain performance targets over a seven-year period.
The management team at Global Intelligence, which carries out business intelligence and investigations, includes several former executives from Kroll Associates, one of the best-known private detective and investigations agencies in the world.
David Wright, Incepta's chairman, said the acquisition would provide Citigate Dewe Rogersons' clients with "strategic communications analysis" to help give them competitive advantage.
"In the United States and around the world, the financial communications market and public relations disciplines are increasingly complemented by business and competitive intelligence services," he said.
Citigate Dewe Rogerson's client base includes the likes of the mobile company Orange as well as Granada and the mobile phone retailer The Carphone Warehouse.
The acquired business, whose main offices are in New York and Los Angeles, will trade as Citigate Global Intelligence and Security. The deal is expected to complete in February.