CVC & CDPQ set to acquire global agencies We Are Social, Fuseproject & Vision 7 International

Global private equity and investment advisory CVC Capital Partners (CVC) and global investment group Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) are to acquire a majority stake in BlueFocus Intelligent Communication Group’s international group of agencies, managed under its subsidiary, BlueFocus International. The agreement covers global social agency We Are Social and its sister agencies within BlueFocus, Fuseproject and Vision7 International.

CVC and CDPQ’s intention behind the acquisition is to create a “digital-first, technology-enabled global advertising and marketing services group of companies,” enabling the agencies to focus on market expansion and foster its tech and data capabilities.

CVC and CDPQ acquisition includes We Are Social

We Are Social was acquired in 2013 by Chinese marketing group, BlueFocus Communications. At the time the agency consisted of 400 people in 8 countries, and has since grown to 900 people in 15 global offices. Across the entirety of the new BlueFocus International entity, the business has more than 2,500 employees, across 12 countries in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

“We are excited for this next phase in our growth journey. We’ll continue to operate as an independent brand, with the same leadership, brand and culture. We’ll have the same focus on delivering best in class socially-led work for our clients, and fostering a creative environment for top talent to thrive,” a We Are Social Australia spokesperson told Mumbrella about the local implications of the acquisition.

Vision7 International’s president and CEO, Brett Marchand, will become CEO of the new combined entity.

“Our partnership with CVC and CDPQ, will allow us to advance our expansion and transformation strategy,” Marchand said.

“This investment in geographic and capabilities expansion and next generation technology and data offering will provide leading-edge services for our clients and unparalleled development opportunities to our talented people all around the world.”

Brett Marchand

CVC’s international business service providers, Alix Partners, Teneo and TMF Group, will support the strategic direction of the new group.

“CVC is impressed by the opportunity for accelerated growth,” said Scott Chen, managing director at CVC Capital Partners.

“We couldn’t pass up the unique opportunity to invest in this group of leading, tech-enabled agencies and we look forward to working with their talented management teams to take each of the businesses to the next level.”

CVC has had a number of previous dalliances with the media and marketing world, including a short lived ownership of the Nine Network and what is now the magazine company Are Media, after the Packer family agreed in 2007 to sell them to the venture capital company at what proved to be the top of the market.

The onset of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008 saw Nine unable to service the debt, and Nine teetered on administration before the company’s lenders took control of the business leaving CVC facing a total loss on the deal.

CVC was also previously the owner of Formula 1 between 2006 and 2017.

CVC and CDPQ’s transaction with BlueFocus is expected to be finalised in Q3 of 2021, subject to regulatory approval.

“CDPQ is very proud to take part in this transaction that will enable the creation of a new global communications and marketing group,” said Kim Thomassin, executive vice-president and head of
investments in Québec and Stewardship Investing.

“This investment aligns with our goal to support companies in their growth and globalisation and will allow the company to carry out its ambitious development plan focusing on expanding in certain international markets.”


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