ORC International is to join two partner firms in 'a next generation marketing services company' with annual revenues of c.$400m, following the acquisition of marcoms group Engine by ORC's Chicago-based backers Lake Capital. Partner firms will keep their separate identity.
Private equity firm Lake says Engine will partner with ORC and thereafter with entertainment and content marketing agency Trailer Park, another in its portfolio, creating a 'new breed' of marketing services agency.
The latest deal, said to have totalled around £100m, brings Lake Chairman and co-founder Terry Graunke to Engine's board as Executive Chairman, and Engine co-founder Peter Scott moving to Vice Chairman and Head of Global Strategy. Engine CEO Debbie Klein says these will be the only staff changes and that the preservation of Engine's independence is a key element of the acquisition agreement.
Lake invested in ORC three years ago when a group of the latter's senior managers bought it from database giant Infogroup for an undisclosed sum. Engine has already underlined its interest in research and analysis with the formation of a consumer research arm, Engine Decisions, in July 2010.
Graunke says Engine has 'great agencies, people and clients and a unique business model which attracted us to it.' Engine's existing brands include ad agency WCRS, social media specialist Jam and PR firm MHP Communications. Together the three brands - possibly enhanced by other acquisitions - will become 'a major, independent global force in marketing services and communications', according to Graunke.
Engine Group CEO Peter Scott comments: 'I have known Terry for many years going back to the original WCRS buyout in 2004. He understands marketing services, the intrinsic difference and appeal of the Engine model and has the appetite and resources to support our growth ambitions.'
Web sites: www.orcinternational.com , www.enginegroup.com .
All articles 2006-19 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas.