“We are excited to offer Knowledge Capital Group’s management consulting expertise to our clients,” Ponder CEO Julian Head said in a news release.
Head said that acquiring Knowledge Capital allows Ponder to assist clients through the entirety of a transaction, including strategic planning and financing and the implementation work of becoming a fully integrated system after a merger or acquisition.
Over the past 45 years, Ponder has advised more than 750 health care organizations on capital planning, strategic advisory, and mergers and acquisitions, according to the release.
Tony Powell, managing director of Knowledge Capital Group, said when he met the team at Ponder, the two companies clicked.
“They focused in the health care space, which we loved,” he said. “And what they did was not what we did, or vice versa. And what was great is their clients needed our services. And the clients we had needed their services. So it was a perfect one and one equals three.”
Knowledge Capital Group will remain in Charleston. Powell declined to disclose the acquisition value but said it was a stock transaction.
The company has added three new employees since being acquired, Powell said, though the hires had been planned prior to the acquisition. Powell said the company is still looking to hire three more people.
“As Ponder introduces us to their clients ... when they need our services, they can’t wait for six months,” Powell said. “If it’s, ‘Yeah, we kind of need some help as we’re integrating these two health systems together,’ we’ll have to be able to respond quickly. And to do that, we need to have the right staff.”
Powell said it’s tough to find qualified people who aren’t already happily employed, with the national unemployment rate at 3.7%. Additionally, he said, recruiting people to Charleston can be difficult because the region doesn’t always have professional opportunities for a trailing spouse.
“If I’m recruiting someone out of (Washington,) D.C., and husband and wife both have great jobs, it’s hard sometimes for us to find the trailing spouse another role that is fulfilling as they currently have in a bigger city,” Powell said. “I think that’ll take care of itself over time as Charleston continues to grow, but right now, that’s a little bit of a hiccup.”
He added that having access to Ponder’s Nashville office might also help Knowledge Capital recruit employees.