Blue Rubicon sells stake to private equity firm LDC

Blue Rubicon, PRWeek's Consultancy of the Year for 2012, has sold a 'significant' stake to private equity investor LDC.

Blue Rubicon: agency sells stake to private equity firm LDC
Blue Rubicon: agency sells stake to private equity firm LDC

The deal values Blue Rubicon at approximately £30m and will underpin the agency’s expansion into new markets and territories.  

Terms of the deal were not revealed, but it is thought LDC has acquired a majority stake in the business.  

PRWeek broke the news that Blue Rubicon was seeking third party investment in May. It is understood that the agency held discussions with a number of suitors within the PR industry, but that non-trade investment was always the preferred option.  

Fraser Hardie, senior partner and founder of Blue Rubicon, said: ‘This move is being driven by our clients and the ambition of our people. Our teams remain hungry for growth driven by the firm’s ambition to be the defining agency of our generation.  

‘Blue Rubicon’s success is built on a simple philosophy: we invest and innovate in capabilities and knowledge, assemble the best talent and create a culture to deliver the very best advice and ideas to clients with unerring consistency. That’s why our clients and our people stay with us for the long term. They grow; we grow. This finance deal allows us to stay true to what we believe in while opening up new opportunities for further growth.’  

As part of the deal, Blue Rubicon and LDC have appointed an independent non-executive chairman, Alastair Gornall. Gornall was formerly chief executive of Reed Exhibitions and founder of Consolidated Communications.   

Waqqas Ahmad, investment director at LDC, commented: ‘Blue Rubicon is the stand-out company in its sector and we’re delighted to be able to partner with and support the management of the agency as it ventures into new territories and services. Our own track record of assisting management teams to branch out beyond these shores made us the perfect fit for the agency and we’re looking forward to working with them in the years to come.’  

Gordon Tempest-Hay, CEO of Blue Rubicon, said that the deal would enable the agency to invest in digital and analytics and to move into new markets to 'respond to client demand and secure the opportunities available to us’.  

Blue Rubicon was founded in 1999 by Hardie, former head of comms at Powergen, and Chris Jones, former home news editor at Channel 4.  

The agency has been crowned PRWeek’s Consultancy of the Year four times, most recently at the 2012 PRWeek Awards in October. The firm’s key clients include McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, British Gas, Shell, Unilever, GlaxoSmithKline and Facebook.   

LDC’s investment in Blue Rubicon mirrors the investment into College Group in October 2011, which sold a majority stake to private equity investor Vitruvian Partners.

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