LONDON: Chinese marketing services group BlueFocus has snapped up social media specialists We Are Social for an initial investment of $30 million, “with further performance-based consideration over a three-year period.”
The deal involves the reported acquisition of an 82.8% stake in We Are Social, which will become BlueFocus' primary digital agency brand outside China.
The move by BlueFocus, which is listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange with a market cap of $3.7 billion, follows the company buying a stake in Huntsworth earlier this year.
The deal is subject to Chinese regulatory approval, which is expected to be received within three months. We Are Social was advised by Results International and Osborne Clarke, and BlueFocus by BDO and Ashurst.
Both parties are understood to have been in discussions since February.
We Are Social, which shares electronics company Lenovo as a major client with BlueFocus, was launched in 2008 by Robin Grant and Nathan McDonald.
It employs 400 people across its eight offices in New York, London, Paris, Milan, Munich, Sydney, Singapore, and Sao Paulo.
“We Are Social has been running for about five years, and we knew that if we wanted to achieve our ambitions, we really needed to find the right partner to move the business forward,” said Robin Grant, cofounder of We Are Social. “As we looked at all the options, Blue Focus became the obvious choice due to the scale of the ambitions and a shared empathy between the two companies.”
She added that “for our clients, there is a huge bonus of being given unparalleled insight into the Chinese market, which is invaluable.”
BlueFocus acquired a 19.8% stake in Huntsworth in April, with Huntsworth CEO Peter Chadlington saying at the time that the move will reduce the holding company's debt.
This story originally appeared on the website of PRWeek UK.