BlueFocus buys Citizen Relations as part of Vision7 acquisition

China's BlueFocus has acquired a majority stake in Canadian comms company Vision7, owner of brands Cossette and PR firm Citizen Relations.

Oscar Zhao: CEO of BlueFocus Communications Group
Oscar Zhao: CEO of BlueFocus Communications Group

The deal marks the completion of a seven-month process that began in May when Connecticut-based Mill Road Capital, the private equity majority owner of Vision7, announced it was looking for a buyer for Vision7’s North American assets.

Citizen Relations CEO Daryl McCullough said: "For Citizen, this new alliance with a company that has such a strong PR and digital focus and determined growth agenda means that we can move ahead even more quickly with our own growth plans."

The Vision7 assets include integrated agency Cossette, with offices in Canada and Chicago; Citizen Relations, which has offices in Canada, the US and the UK; and Vision7 Media, a media planning and buying agency with brands Cossette Media and Jungle Media. 

Last month Vision7 announced that its UK assets including agency brands Dare, Elvis and Identica would no longer be run as a group, and would now shift to a new operational focus as individual brands.

Although the details are proprietary and confidential, Vision7's senior executive management will significantly increase its ownership stake and opportunities in the company as a result of the deal.

Oscar Zhao, CEO of BlueFocus Communications Group, added: "Vision7 is a very impressive company with great achievements in the marketing services sector. Having Vision7 join the BlueFocus family will help us gain better access to the North American market and emphasises our "To Be Global" strategy. We’re very excited about this partnership and confident that the current management will lead the company to the next level of success."

In 2013 BlueFocus acquired We Are Social for an initial consideration of $30m (£18.3m). In the same year Grayling owner Huntsworth sold a 19.8 per cent stake in its business to BlueFocus.

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