U.S. private equity firm High Road Capital Partners has bought Ariad Communications, a Toronto-based strategic marketing agency that provides Canadian business clients with content, digital marketing and consumer activation capabilities. The acquisition’s value was not disclosed. High Road said it plans to combine Ariad with an existing portfolio company, U.S.-based Bluespire Marketing, with the aim of creating a cross-border platform with distinct operating brands and enhanced capabilities. Ariad President Mike Beckerman will serve as CEO of the merged entity. High Road’s other Canadian investments include Accentus and Celco Controls Ltd.
High Road Capital Partners Acquires Ariad Communications to Combine with Bluespire Marketing
Ariad’s Michael Beckerman to become CEO of the combined North American agency
NEW YORK, July 7, 2015 – High Road Capital Partners (www.highroadcap.com) announced today that it has acquired Toronto-based Ariad Communications, which it will combine with its platform company Bluespire Marketing. Ariad is a strategic marketing agency specializing in serving Canadian clients with content, digital marketing and consumer activation capabilities.
Bluespire is a leading provider of strategic, multi-channel marketing solutions with emphasis on end-user content and digital marketing for healthcare, financial services and senior living companies. Each business will continue to operate its brands.
Mike Beckerman, a 20-year marketing veteran and President of Ariad, will serve as CEO of the combined company.
“Ariad and Bluespire are experts in strategy, content and technology with deep subject matter expertise in healthcare and financial services, giving our existing and prospective clients expanded resources to draw from,” said Beckerman. “And we have the opportunity to bring Bluespire Senior Living’s market-leading offering to Canada, and Ariad’s award-winning consumer packaged goods expertise to the U.S.
“Our new North American platform is amplified by complementary services and broader capabilities,” Beckerman added. “I look forward to working in partnership with the executive team at Bluespire to help all our clients achieve better business results.”
“Bluespire and Ariad serve large and growing markets that are often regulated, requiring specific expertise with respect to content creation, marketing outreach, and management of customer data,” said Jeff Goodrich, High Road Partner. “With this combination, both companies are better positioned to help clients grow their businesses with marketing programs that deliver high ROI and profitable customer engagement,” Goodrich said.
Jeff Goodrich led the transaction for High Road. He was supported by Bill Hobbs, Operating Partner; Scott Rubino, Vice President; and James Karle, Associate. Mike Beckerman invested in the transaction alongside High Road. Fifth Third Bank provided senior debt financing for the transaction along with U.S. Bank and Royal Bank of Canada. Babson Capital Management provided subordinated debt financing and also invested equity. Bluespire’s legal counsels were Thompson Hine and Blake, Cassels & Graydon. Ariad’s financial advisor was Petsky Prunier and its legal counsel was Baker & McKenzie.
The transaction closed June 30, 2015. Transaction consideration was not disclosed.
High Road has completed 36 transactions, comprising 32 acquisitions – 13 platform investments, 19 add-on acquisitions – and four exits since its founding in 2007.
For further information, please contact Jeff Goodrich of High Road Capital Partners at (212) 554-3268.
High Road Capital Partners
High Road Capital Partners is a private equity firm focused on smaller middle-market transactions. High Road was formed in 2007 and currently manages over $470 million of committed capital. High Road focuses on niche-leading companies with revenues of $10 million to $100 million and EBITDA of $3 million to $10 million. Once acquired, High Road works in partnership with management to take the companies to the next level through a combination of organic growth initiatives and add-on acquisitions. www.highroadcap.com
Bluespire Marketing combines marketing strategy, technology and content to drive growth for clients in healthcare, senior living and financial services. For over 30 years, the most well-known healthcare, senior living and financial brands in the U.S. have chosen Bluespire as a preferred marketing partner. A few of Bluespire’s notable current clients include Navy Federal Credit Union, Pfizer, the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange, Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation, Covenant Retirement Communities, National Lutheran Communities & Services, and North Shore-LIJ Health System, along with one of the three largest banks in the US. Bluespire is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with offices in Hartford, Connecticut, and Montvale, New Jersey. www.bluespiremarketing.com
Ariad Communications is a marketing agency focused on creating content that motivates, creative that inspires, and strategy that connects it all to clients’ customers to drive business results. For over 20 years some of Canada’s most successful brands in the healthcare, CPG, B2B, and financial services sectors have partnered with Ariad’s marketing professionals to generate brand engagement, deepen customer relationships, and instill loyalty. A few of Ariad’s notable clients include Unilever, Degree, OneTouch, Reactine, Johnson & Johnson, Colliers, Visa, D+H, Vale, PwC, smart Car and some of Canada’s leading banks. Ariad is based in Toronto, Ontario, with a satellite office in Chicago. www.ariad.ca
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