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Bastion Collective takes majority stake in ad agency Banjo

Independent communications group Bastion Collective has taken a majority stake in advertising agency Banjo.

Advertising agency Banjo – which has clients including The Real Pet Food Company, NSW Transport, TAFE NSW, Alinta Energy, AMP and SafeWork – was founded by managing partners Andrew Varasdi and Ben Lyttle in 2008 alongside John Singleton and venture capitalist Mark Carnegie.

Bastion Collective’s founders and Banjo’s founders

In November last year, Carnegie sold his 20% stake in Banjo and handed the reins back to Banjo’s founders Varasdi and Lyttle.

Then in June, Banjo’s founding creative partner Georgia Arnott departed the agency to join AJF Partnership as a creative director.

One month later, the agency parted ways with one of its clients Nando’s as the account moved to BWM Dentsu.

Bastion Collective has agencies including sponsorship agency Bastion EBA, PR agency Bastion Effect, community and government engagement agency Bastion Engage, reputation agency Bastion RM, content agency Bastion Stadium, and digital and bespoke agency Bastion Rare.

In May Bastion Collective opened two new agencies: Bastion Engage and Bastion China.

Jack Watts, CEO at Bastion Collective Australia, said in a statement: “This acquisition aligns with our strategic direction to bring in top-performing agencies with complementary services, that deliver integrated solutions to clients all under the one roof.

“As a Collective this means we stay agile, flexible and collaborative and can continue to be nimble and adapt in an increasingly fast-paced and ever-changing communications world.

“This acquisition delivers on our goal to bring in the best in the business so that our clients deal with absolute experts and receive family business service from owner operators who are truly
passionate about what they do.”

Varasdi added: “We have always believed that if you look after your clients everything else looks after itself and the best way to do that is to look after your people too. It was really important to Ben and I that we found a partner that shared our vision.

“Having spent nearly 25 years in the industry we have seen it all. We have been part of agencies and holding company models, but this feels very different. It all starts with having a strong culture, great people and clear vision. This is what stood out to us from our very first meeting with Bastion; they have created something special for their people as well as continually delivering world class work for their clients.”

Lyttle said the majority stake allows Banjo to be interconnected and service its clients with more skill.

“Our identity has always been important and with Bastion, we retain what has made us great, our culture, our way of working, yet as part of Bastion Collective we can collaborate, be interconnected, and have world-class support and capabilities that together make the possibilities to serve our clients with even more skill.”

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