Keystone Capital buys MERGE


Keystone Capital Inc said Dec. 17 that it acquired MERGE. Financial terms weren’t announced. MERGE, of Chicago, is a marketing and technology services agency.

PRESS RELEASE

CHICAGO, Dec. 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — 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.

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 and digital strategy, brand development, creative advertising, digital marketing execution, digital design and content creation, data analytics, custom technology development and media services. MERGE delivers omnichannel 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 also as CEO, partnering with Ron to lead the business forward. For more information on MERGE, please visit mergeworld.com.
The CEOs of MERGE noted, “We are thrilled to begin our partnership with Keystone Capital. We see tremendous opportunity to build on the strong foundation 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 as well as 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, and MERGE was advised by JEGI in connection with this transaction.
About Keystone Capital, Inc.
Keystone Capital, Inc. is a private investment firm based in Chicago, Illinois. Formed in 1994, its mission is to acquire and build a portfolio of exceptionally high-quality, mid-sized businesses that are leaders in their niche markets. Keystone is differentiated by its investment of personal as opposed to third-party capital, which results in investment horizon flexibility and an ability to enter into true long-term operating partnerships with the professional management teams of its companies.