CVC Capital Partners and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec have acquired a majority stake in BlueFocus International, the international subsidiary of BlueFocus Intelligent Communication Group. The acquisition includes three main agency groups: We Are Social, fuseproject, Vision7 International. PJT Partners advised BlueFocus Intelligent Communications Group and RBC Capital Markets provided financial advice to BlueFocus subsidiaries.
Montreal & Hong Kong May 4, 2021 – CVC Capital Partners (“CVC”), a leading global private equity and investment advisory firm, and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (“CDPQ”), a global investment group, have reached an agreement with BlueFocus Intelligent Communication Group for CVC Capital Partners Asia V and CDPQ to acquire a majority stake in its international group of agencies, managed under its subsidiary, BlueFocus International. This comprises its three main agency groups: We Are Social, fuseproject, Vision7 International which includes Cossette, Cossette Media, Eleven and Citizen Relations, among others.
This agreement will create a digital-first, technology-enabled global advertising and marketing services group of companies. This partnership will provide the new group with the capital to invest in its growth strategy, focused on market expansion, building its next generation of tech and data capabilities and expanding its talent base. The new entity has more than 2,500 employees, across 12 countries in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.
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.
“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 new CEO. “This investment in geographic and capabilities expansion and next generation technology and data offering will provide leading-edge services for our clients and unparalleled development opportunities to our talented people all around the world.”
CVC is well positioned to support this strategy, given its experience gained through the successful expansion of international business services providers such as Alix Partners, Teneo and TMF Group. “CVC is impressed by the opportunity for accelerated growth,” said Scott Chen, Managing Director at CVC Capital Partners. “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.”
“CDPQ is very proud to take part in this transaction that will enable the creation of a new global communications and marketing group,” said Kim Thomassin, Executive Vice-President and Head of Investments in Québec and Stewardship Investing. “This investment aligns with our goal to support companies in their growth and globalization and will allow the company to carry out its ambitious development plan focusing on expanding in certain international markets.”
The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions, is expected to be finalized in Q3 2021. No further terms are being disclosed. PJT Partners acted as the exclusive financial advisor to BlueFocus Intelligent Communications Group and RBC Capital Marketsacted as the financial advisor to BlueFocus International subsidiaries. White & Case and McCarthy Tetrault LLP acted as legal advisors to CVC, Fasken acted as legal advisor for CDPQ and Norton Rose Fulbright acted as legal advisor to BlueFocus International subsidiaries.
About CVC Capital Partners
CVC is a leading private equity and investment advisory firm with a network of 23 offices throughout Europe, Asia and the US, with approximately US$118 billion of assets under management. Since its founding in 1981, CVC has secured commitments in excess of US$160 billion from some of the world’s leading institutional investors across its private equity and credit strategies. Funds managed or advised by CVC are invested in over 90 companies worldwide, which have combined annual sales of approximately US$100 billion and employ more than 450,000 people.
About CVC Asia
CVC has one of the largest and longest-established pan-regional office networks of any private equity business in Asia and has been active in the region since 1999. CVC’s Asia private equity strategy is focused on control and partnership investments in high quality businesses, typically with enterprise values between $250 million and $1.5 billion. For further information about CVC’s Asia Pacific funds please visit: www.cvc.com/private-equity/asia.
At Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), we invest constructively to generate sustainable returns over the long term. As a global investment group managing funds for public retirement and insurance plans, we work alongside our partners to build enterprises that drive performance and progress. We are active in the major financial markets, private equity, infrastructure, real estate and private debt. As at December 31, 2020, CDPQ’s net assets total CAD 365.5 billion.
Blue Focus Intelligent Communication Group, founded in 1996, is China’s leading advertising, PR, digital marketing and communications company. BlueFocus 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. BlueFocus went public on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 2010 and has been expanding its digital and operational footprint globally serving over 1,500 brands worldwide.