JEGI Represents Social Media Agency Big Fuel in Sale to Publicis Groupe
New York, NY July 18, 2011– Big Fuel (www.bigfuel.com), the New Yor-based social media agency, has sold a majority stake to Publicis Groupe (Paris: PUB.PA) (www.publicisgroupe.com), the global advertising and communications company. Publicis Groupe immediately acquires 51% of Big Fuel and has the opportunity to increase its participation to 100% by 2014. Big Fuel will be aligned under the VivaKi organization and serve as a strategic social media center for VivaKi agencies Digitas, Razorfish, Starcom MediaVest Group and Zenith Optimedia, complementing their existing teams.
The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc. (www.jegi.com) of New York, NY, the leading independent investment bank for the media, information, marketing services, and technology sectors, represented Big Fuel in this transaction and acted as its exclusive financial advisor.
Big Fuel is one of the only pure-play social media agencies in the industry, with all employees dedicated to providing clients with social media services, including strategic, creative, distribution, management and analytics. The company has grown from 30 employees in early 2010 to a current total of more than 170. Its 2011 revenue is expected to reach nearly $30 million, a 500% increase over 2010. It has been named social media agency of record (AOR) for some major corporations, including GM and Tâ€Mobile. Big Fuel also works with Colgate,Palmolive, Microsoft, Clorox, Children’s Place, Gore-Tex, InBev, and Philips.
Big Fuel is headed by Jon Bond, CEO, who assumed the role in January 2011. Mr. Bond runs the agency in partnership with Avi Savar, Founding Partner and Chief Creative Officer, and Mike McGraw, Managing Partner and COO.
Mr. Bond says the deal will help support Big Fuel’s rapid organic growth. “Big Fuel’s founder Avi Savar had the vision to create one of the first full-service social media agencies,” said Mr. Bond. “Now that social media is revolutionizing global marketing, this partnership gives the agency and its clients scale, impact, and a network around the world. This partnership is a marriage of skill and scale.”
Mr. Savar said, “Social media is the key to the future of advertising and a fertile place for brands to play. Our new partners will help Big Fuel and its clients expand our social media capabilities and reach.” Big Fuel will report into the VivaKi organization through Laura Lang, global CEO of Digitas and member of the VivaKi Board of Directors. “Big Fuel is a dynamic social media agency with a scalable model that encompasses social tools, process, a content studio and a distribution network,” said Ms. Lang. “As a result, it will extend the creative and content resourcing of Digitas and Razorfish. Sitting inside VivaKi, with its powerful media and digital agency networks, Big Fuel gives us unprecedented Paid, Owned and Earned capabilities, further enhancing the social media strategies of its sister agencies.”
“Social media is shaping up to be the great equalizer in a world that’s starting to reward authenticity and transparency,” said Mr. McGraw. “It is a great opportunity for brands to build strong, consistent bonds with consumers, and I’m really excited about the “media” part of social media. This is the new frontier in our business where the long tail of social engagement is being qualified and monetized.”
According to research company eMarketer, worldwide spending on social networks will reach almost $6 billion in 2011, amounting to $3.1 billion in the US and $2.9 billion in international markets.
About Publicis Groupe
Publicis Groupe (Paris: PUB.PA) (www.publicisgroupe.com) is the worldÊ¹s third largest communications group, with activities spanning 104 countries and approximately 50,000 professionals. The company offers local and international clients a complete range of advertising services through three global networks: Leo Burnett; Publicis; and Saatchi & Saatchi, as well as through numerous agencies, including Fallon, 49%â€owned Bartle Bogle Hegarty, and Kaplan Thaler Group. VivaKi combines digital and media expertise, allowing clients to connect with consumers in a holistic way via Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia worldwide media networks; and interactive and digital marketing led by Digitas and Razorfish networks. Rosetta is an autonomous consulting and digital marketing agency.
About Big Fuel
Big Fuel (www.bigfuel.com) is a social media agency based in New York. It takes brands from Content to Commerce, a unique approach that bridges Êºpeople storiesÊº to Êºproduct storiesÊº through social media and branded content. Big Fuel is one part marketing agency, building brands through consumer insight; one part entertainment company, creating content that people love; and one part distribution company, driving guaranteed results by delivering content and growing targeted audiences. The company works with major brands, leading agencies, publishers and platforms to help marketers achieve true consumer engagement.
About The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc.
The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc. (JEGI) of New York, NY is the leading provider of independent investment banking services for the media, information, marketing services and technology sectors. Since 1987, JEGI has completed more than 500 highâ€profile M&A transactions for global corporations; middlemarket and emerging companies; entrepreneurial owners; and private equity and venture capital firms. For more information, visit www.jegi.com.
“I can’t tell you how impressed we were by JEGI’s performance on this deal, in terms of professionalism, business smarts, people skills etc. The team was as accomplished at the strategic as it was with the details and demonstrated a superior grasp of our industry and the market throughout. JEGI was very tough when it needed to be and went toe to toe with the heavy hitters to get us the best deal possible. Your team really kept us all on an even keel throughout this roller coaster ride. On behalf of us all, thank you for representing us.”
– Mike McGraw, Managing Partner & COO, Big Fuel Communications