Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners and Canadian investment fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) have jointly acquired a majority stake in the international agency division of Chinese communications services group BlueFocus.
The deal involves BlueFocus subsidiary agencies outside China – We Are Social, fuseproject, and Vision 7 International. Under the agencies are firms such as Cossette, Cossette Media, Eleven, and Citizen Relations, among others.
Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to be finalised in the third quarter of this year, according to the statement. The deal also comes less than a year after BlueFocus shelved its plans to spin off the subsidiaries into a newly listed company.
The deal will create a digital-first, technology-enabled global advertising and marketing services group of companies. The new entity will have more than 2,500 employees, across 12 countries in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia Pacific.
“Our partnership with CVC and CDPQ, will allow us to advance our expansion and transformation strategy,” said Brett Marchand, Vision7 International’s President and CEO, who will lead the new combined entity as its CEO.
CVC’s and CDPQ’s global network and partnerships will provide the group with access to key strategic human and relationship capital, which will be important for its expansion plans, according to the announcement.
BlueFocus, founded in 1996, is one of China’s top advertising, PR, digital marketing, and communications company. It provides intelligent marketing services covering digital marketing, public relations, mobile and traditional advertising, creative media production and media buying, e-commerce solutions, cloud-based CRM, big data intelligence, and social media insights & marketing.
“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,” said CVC Capital Partners managing director Scott Chen.
The deal comes about a year after CVC Capital partners closed its fifth Asia Pacific fund at its hard cap of $4.5 billion, exceeding an original target of $4 billion.
To date, CVC has raised $15 billion of commitments across its Asia Pacific funds, which in total have completed over 65 investments. The firm currently operates eight offices in Greater China, Japan, Korea, India, and Southeast Asia, for its APAC strategy.