Investor Mark Carnegie sells his stake in ad agency Banjo

Colourful media investor Mark Carnegie has sold his 20% stake in Banjo back to the agency’s founders Andrew Varasdi and Ben Lyttle.

Carnegie and adland veteran John Singleton each took a 20% stake in the agency when it launched in 2008

In a statement, Carnegie said now was the right time to step away from the agency. “When we started out we wanted an agency where the clients came first and we wanted to combine the arts of selling and storytelling. We have lived up to that philosophy at Banjo and now is the right time to step away and let Andrew and Ben take it to the next level,” Carnegie said.

Singleton and Carnegie both own significant stakes in 2GB and 3AW owner Macquarie Media along with a series of wider business investments together.

Varasdi, CEO at Banjo, added: “We have been flying under the radar for a long time and Ben and I felt with so much happening it was the right time for us to take full control.”

In a statement to Mumbrella, Varasdi thanked Carnegie for his financial support as “one of the reasons [he] was able to start Banjo”.

“We have been talking about the business for some time now and the decision to acquire Mark’s shareholding was one we mutually agreed was right for both parties. There was nothing more than that.

“For Ben and I it gives us more certainty about our the agency and our plans for the future which is very important to us,” Varasdi added.

Mumbrella understands Singleton is not likely to sell down his stake in the agency.

Following the sale of Carnegie’s share the two founders, Varasdi and Lyttle, will now own the other 80%.

“We have managed to keep the agency at a scale that allows our senior people to remain close to the clients and have a real impact on their success,” Lyttle said.

Banjo declined to comment on how much the founders paid for Carnegie’s stake.

In June this year both Singleton and Carnegie launched a brief bid to take full ownership of Macquarie Media. And in May last year

the agency appointed Bruce Matchett as its new ECD.

Banjo’s clients include Alinta, Crown, Clubs NSW and Nando’s.


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