The RGM Group, an online media firm for brand advertisers and publishers, has received a $21 million investment from Riordan, Lewis & Haden Equity Partners. The group has also hired Kurt Johnson as CEO. Company founder and previous CEO Kamran Razavi will remain a full-time, integral part of RGM’s leadership team as chief strategy officer.
The RGM Group, a rapidly growing online media firm for premium brand advertisers and publishers, today announced that it has received a $21 million investment from Riordan, Lewis & Haden (RLH) Equity Partners, a leading private equity firm focused on high-growth businesses. Additionally, RGM Group (RGM) today announced the hiring of Kurt Johnson as CEO, bringing more than 15 years of digital media leadership experience, including prior roles as FastClick’s CEO and ValueClick’s CFO. Company founder and previous CEO Kamran Razavi will remain a full-time, integral part of RGM’s leadership team as Chief Strategy Officer. The hiring is effective immediately.
According to Johnson and Razavi, the funding will enable the profitable Venice, CA-based RGM to aggressively accelerate its national sales, creative, product, and technology development efforts. They expect the company to more than double its head-count by mid-2013 and said that RGM will focus much of its sales growth efforts in the key New York metro market, where the company recently opened a new Manhattan office. In addition, RGM has offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, with plans to open a Chicago office this year. RLH will collaborate with RGM’s management team to help the company, which already has a total monthly reach of more than 155 million US consumers online, execute its expansion plans, identify new market opportunities, and deliver innovative services to its clients.
A DIFFERENT AND PROFITABLE DIGITAL MEDIA COMPANY
RGM has been highly profitable since the day Razavi founded the company in 2004 and grew to become one of the largest digital media companies in the US without external investors prior to today’s announcement. In operating three divisions, the company has a long track record of effectively serving hundreds of premium brands and agencies, ranging from clients like Jaguar to American Express and Sony (http://www.rgmgroup.com/clients.html).
“As we looked at opportunities within the rapidly growing digital media industry, RGM clearly stood out as a company well-positioned to deliver differentiated, value-added solutions for premium brand advertisers in a dynamic marketplace,” said J. Christopher Lewis, Managing Director of RLH. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to work closely with the RGM team to enhance and broaden the company’s unique platform and to build upon RGM’s solid reputation for delivering the highest quality integrated brand advertising solutions.”
RGM’s three divisions include:
The RGM Alliance (RGMA), a premium network, or alliance, of more than 300 individually selected and vertically focused online publications organized into 14 specific content channels. The alliance includes established publications such as Frommer’s, Men’s Fitness, and SmartMoney, as well as growing niche sites such as Digital Trends, ChaCha, and Urbanspoon; RGMA reaches 143 million U.S. consumers through 8 billion page views per month. According to comScore Media Metrix, RGM is the #1 Fashion channel, #2 Travel channel, #8 Business channel and #16 Health channel online;
RGM Exclusive (RGME) provides exclusive media representation for premium publishers and creates unique and custom ad integrations for advertisers. Today, RGM also announced that it has added MenuPages.com (www.menupages.com) to its roster of exclusive publishers, effective October 1. In addition to exclusively managing all standard ad units and placements, RGM will develop and deploy custom online and mobile brand experiences for select clients whose target demographics closely match those of MenuPages.com users. Other RGME publishers include OpenTable (www.opentable.com), the leader in providing free, real-time online restaurant reservations for tech-savvy, affluent urban diners, and JustLuxe (www.justluxe.com), the largest affluent lifestyle site on the Web, with more than 2.5 million monthly unique visitors;
RGM Creative (RGMC), the creative arm of the RGM Group, partners with ad agencies and clients specifically to develop and deploy custom campaigns that generate superior consumer awareness and engagement.
“Joining the RGM Group as CEO is a rare opportunity to help lead a company that has established the industry’s leading platform for premium national and global brands that directly engages with consumers in the right context of quality digital media,” said Kurt Johnson, RGM Group CEO. “With a total reach of more than 155 million U.S. consumers, and deep content integrations with marquee Web sites and publishers, RGM is poised for significant growth as we deliver an expanding array of products to the market at much greater scale.”
“I am thrilled that both RLH Equity and Kurt Johnson are joining me as partners to embark on the company’s next phase of significant growth,” said Kamran Razavi, RGM Group Chief Strategy Officer. “With the financial backing and business-building expertise of RLH, and the benefit of Kurt’s experience and leadership as CEO, RGM is uniquely positioned to succeed in realizing our company vision of providing a distinct set of products, platforms and service benefits for premium advertisers and publishers.”
In connection with the transaction, the company has added Rob Rodin to its Board of Directors. Rodin served for more than 10 years as CEO of Marshall Industries, a global industrial electronics distributor with approximately $2 billion in sales. At Marshall, he created the “World’s Number One Business-to-Business Website” as recognized, two years in a row, by Advertising Age magazine. As part of the transaction, Chris Lewis and Ryan Smiley of RLH have also been named to RGM’s Board of Directors, all joining Johnson and Razavi on the Board.
New Century Capital Partners represented RGM Group in this transaction and acted as its exclusive financial advisor.
About The RGM Group
The RGM Group (www.rgmgroup.com) is a rapidly growing premium online media firm for premium brand advertisers and publishers, featuring three divisions dedicated to providing premium brand advertisers unique and custom programs to engage targeted audiences in brand-safe content at-scale: The RGM Alliance (RGMA), a premium network, or alliance, of more than 300 vertically focused online publications organized into 14 specific content channels; RGM Exclusive (RGME) provides exclusive media representation for premium publishers and creates unique and custom ad integrations for advertisers; RGM Creative (RGMC), the creative arm of the RGM Group which partners with ad agencies and corporate clients specifically to develop and deploy custom campaigns that generates superior consumer awareness and engagement. Offering a highly targeted total reach of more than 155 million unique users per month, the RGM Group provides both advertisers and publishers a comprehensive and flexible platform with which to access, engage and drive results. Based in Venice, CA, the company also has offices in New York City, San Francisco, and San Diego.
About Riordan, Lewis & Haden Equity Partners
Riordan, Lewis & Haden is a leading private equity firm which invests in high growth, lower middle market enterprises in three sectors – business services, healthcare, and government services. RLH has a demonstrated track record of building high growth businesses over the past 30 years and currently manages over $600 million of assets. The firm provides capital and assists portfolio company management teams as they navigate the opportunities and challenges of rapid growth.
About New Century Capital Partners
New Century Capital Partners is a leading independent investment bank serving leading emerging growth companies though its merger and acquisition advisory, restructuring advisory and capital markets financing services. The firm’s access to institutional private equity, venture capital, mutual funds and hedge funds allows it to structure highly competitive financing alternatives.