New York social media agency Big Fuel has sold a stake to Publicis Groupe, the listed, Paris-based advertising and communications company. Publicis Groupe will acquire a 51% stake for terms undisclosed and will have an opportunity to acquire Big Fuel entirely in 2014. The Jordan Edmiston Group represented Big Fuel in the deal.
Social Media Agency Big Fuel Sells Majority Stake to Publicis Groupe
Social Marketing Company to Serve as Strategic Social Media Center for VivaKi Agencies
New York, NY July 18, 2011 Big Fuel (www.bigfuel.com), the New York‐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 T‐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. ʺBig Fuelʹs founder Avi Savar
had the vision to create one of the first full‐service social media agencies,ʺ said Mr. Bond. ʺNow 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.”
JEGI Press Release
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“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 worldʹs 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%‐
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 ʺpeople storiesʺ to ʺproduct storiesʺ 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 high‐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.