Albion Drive targets major growth after £25m Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal deal

The founder of Albion Drive has claimed the PR agency could double in size over the next year on the back of US-based Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners buying a majority stake in its parent group Albion.

Albion Drive founder Bryce Keane, left, and Albion founder Jason Goodman
Albion Drive founder Bryce Keane, left, and Albion founder Jason Goodman

Albion Drive was founded in 2012 as part of advertising and digital group Albion's expansion into PR. It currently has 15 employees serving clients including Swedish e-commerce company Klarna, start-up investment business Seedrs and tequila brand Jose Cuervo.

Albion has just sold a 75 per cent stake to US-based marketing services group Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners (KBS+), which is in turn owned by larger group MDC Partners, in a deal reported to be worth between £20m and £30m.

Albion will become KBS & Albion, with the UK firm’s 100-strong office in London acting as a hub for KBS+ in Europe, while Albion will expand into New York.

The investment will add "rocket fuel" to the expansion plans of Albion Drive, according to agency founder Bryce Keane, who is one of 15 shareholders in Albion.

Naming Germany, China and the US as target markets opened up by KBS’ international network, he also referenced New York-based PR agency Kwittken, which was acquired by KBS+ four years ago. 

"Since its acquisition in 2010, Kwittken has served shared clients within the KBS family as well as its own set of independent clients," said Keane. 

"This model has proven very effective for KBS and we anticipate that Albion Drive will operate similarly in the UK. There are no conflicts between the two agencies and I don't anticipate any change to Kwittken's current course of business in either the New York or UK market." 

Aaron Kwittken is CEO of Kwittken, which has a 20-strong presence in London and has been in the UK market since 2010. 

Stating that Kwittken would continue to operate independently, he added the agency would "of course collaborate with Albion and the other MDC agencies throughout Europe as opportunities arise."

"We think that Albion Drive’s experience with digital and working within the tech start-up community could bring great value to us in the market," he said, adding that his agency's work with "well established corporates" would also benefit both Albion and Albion Drive.

Albion founder Jason Goodman will continue as CEO of Albion, taking on additional international responsibilities to grow the KBS & Albion group offering across EMEA.

He will report to Lori Senecal, global executive chairman of KBS+ and CEO of the MDC Partner Network. 

Senecal said: "The most important thing to us was finding a business partner with a like-minded approach to delivering bold solutions for global clients. Albion is a rare find in London and the ideal fit for the KBS group, as we share a passion for entrepreneurship and invention."

The deal is the second agreed by Canada-based MDC within two weeks – last week it acquired a majority stake in US comms agency Hunter Public Relations.

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