JEGI REPRESENTS MERGE IN SALE TO KEYSTONE CAPITAL
New York, NY, December 17, 2018 – Keystone Capital, Inc. (“Keystone”) is pleased to announce it has completed a partnership with MERGE (“MERGE” or “the Company”), a marketing and technology services agency with more than 270 employees across offices in Chicago, Boston, and Atlanta.
JEGI (www.jegi.com), the leading independent investment bank for the global media, information, marketing, software and tech-enabled services sectors, headquartered in New York, NY, represented MERGE in this transaction.
MERGE is an integrated agency combining strategy, creativity, and technology to address clients’ business challenges and customer engagement needs. The Company’s capabilities include business & digital strategy, brand development, creative advertising, digital marketing execution, digital design & content creation, data analytics, custom technology development, and media services. Merge delivers omni-channel solutions across market sectors with specific expertise in healthcare. Ron Bess will be named Executive Chairman and will remain as CEO of MERGE. Patrick Venetucci, a 30-year industry veteran with previous global executive roles at Leo Burnett Worldwide and Dentsu Aegis, has joined the agency as CEO alongside Ron partnering to lead the business forward together.
Ron Bess, CEO of MERGE, noted, “We are thrilled to begin our partnership with Keystone Capital. We see tremendous opportunity to build on the strong foundation we’ve developed over the past two years. Keystone’s unique approach to patiently investing their personal capital alongside management with a focus on long-term value creation is the perfect fit for our employees and our clients. In addition, Keystone’s deep understanding of marketing and technology-enabled services will provide us with an experienced strategic partner to help achieve our goals for organic growth and complementary acquisitions.”
“Keystone is excited to partner with the talented team at MERGE to continue building on their success serving clients at the intersection of marketing and technology” commented Bill Sommerschield, Principal at Keystone Capital. “We and management see a substantial opportunity to further enhance MERGE’s differentiated capabilities, end-market expertise, and client-centric service approach through internal growth and talent development initiatives and targeted acquisitions.”
Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed. Senior debt financing was provided by Wintrust Bank, legal counsel was provided to Keystone by Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn, LLP.
MERGE is an integrated agency combining strategy, creativity, and technology to address clients’ business challenges and customer engagement needs. The Company’s capabilities include business & digital strategy, brand development, creative advertising, digital marketing execution, digital design & content creation, data analytics, custom technology development, and media services. Merge delivers omni-channel solutions across market sectors with specific expertise in healthcare. For more information, visit www.mergeworld.com.
About Keystone Capital
Keystone was founded in 1994 with the goal of acquiring high quality, market-leading niche businesses. Unlike a traditional private equity firm utilizing a fund-based investment model, Keystone operates more like an entrepreneurial holding company – utilizing the personal capital of its partners rather than outside third-party capital, capitalizing its investments with conservative capital structures, and with its principals actively involved in supporting the management teams of its portfolio companies. Keystone’s investments all share one thing in common – a mutual commitment by management and Keystone to thoughtfully and patiently build a sustainable, market-leading business. For more information, visit www.keystonecapital.com.
JEGI has been the leading independent investment bank for the global media, information, marketing, software and tech-enabled services sectors for over 30 years. Headquartered in North America, with offices in New York City and Boston, as well as London and Sydney (through its partnership with CLARITY), JEGI has completed more than 650 high‐profile M&A and financing transactions, serving global corporations; middle‐market and emerging companies; entrepreneurial owners and founders; and private equity and venture capital firms. For more information, visit www.jegi.com.
“For the sale of MERGE, we chose JEGI as our advisor due to their deep domain expertise and ability to position an evolving integrated healthcare marketing services agency. JEGI managed a robust process on a tight timetable to closing prior to year-end, which was very important to our fund. JEGI delivered a competitive process that resulted in multiple offers and maximum value for MERGE’s stakeholders. Professional throughout, unruffled by any turn of events, highly-skilled strategists and negotiators, the JEGI Team was the hands down best partner to Baird Capital. We will engage them again at the first opportunity.”
– Mike Bernstein, Partner, Baird Capital