The new entity’s management said they were deliberately creating "a 21st century, multi-dimensional and integrated marketing group with 60 per cent of its revenues from digital".
Engine today (Wednesday) confirmed its sale to private equity business Lake Capital for what is believed to be just under £100m. Lake has bought all shares with the exception of the 15 per cent owned by Engine staff.
Since 2010 the group has been backed by private equity firm HIG, which has now sold down its shareholding. Other minority shareholders, including Matthew Freud, have also sold their shares.
Lake will add Engine’s £100m revenues from advertising, PR and digital marketing to those of its Hollywood-based entertainment and content marketing firm, Trailer Park, and its research arm, ORC. Engine’s UK CEO Debbie Klein said this would create the world’s biggest ‘independent’ marketing services group, which would target North America and Asia for expansion.
Lake’s co-founder and chairman Terry Graunke becomes Engine Group’s executive chairman, while Engine’s co-founder Peter Scott becomes the group’s vice-chairman as well as head of global strategy. Klein remains in her role.
Senior executives said there were ‘no plans’ to consolidate the UK-based portfolio of marketing services agencies, which includes PR firms MHP and Mischief, ad agency WRCS, digital agency Jam and direct marketing specialist Partners Andrews Aldridge.
Before the sale to Lake Capital today, speculation was growing that any new owner of Engine could break up the group and sell off its constituent agencies in trade sales.
Graunke said: "We are planning that Engine, Trailer Park and ORC form the basis of a major, independent global force in marketing and communications."