Next Fifteen buys majority stake in Connections Media

WASHINGTON: Next Fifteen Communications Group has acquired an 80% stake in digital agency Connections Media for $1.85 million. The deal will boost Next Fifteen's public affairs presence in Washington and increase its digital capabilities.

WASHINGTON: Next Fifteen Communications Group has acquired an 80% stake in digital agency Connections Media for $1.85 million.

The deal will boost Next Fifteen's public affairs presence in Washington and increase its digital capabilities.

Connections Media stood out to the holding company because it shares an ethical viewpoint on what kind of work it will take on, said Next Fifteen CEO Tim Dyson.

“In DC, there are some amazing companies, but there are some that are very willing to work on any issue regardless of its ethical background,” he said. “[Connections Media] isn't like that, and that was an important factor for us.”

Connections Media has worked with Bloomberg Philanthropies, Ethos Water, the Pew Research Center, the Starbucks Foundation, Vonage, and World Water Day, according to its website. The firm also worked on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's (I) winning 2005 and 2009 campaigns, as well as PepsiCo, Starbucks, and Google.

The San Francisco-based holding company also came to know the firm through its work with Next Fifteen subsidiary 463 Communications.

Connections Media will retain its name and leadership structure. Its CEO, Jonah Seiger, will report to Dyson, and the firm will maintain its team of 15 staffers.

Dyson said it was important to him to keep the agency essentially the same.

“We think they are doing a great job. We don't want to kill the goose laying the golden egg by making changes for the sake of making changes,” Dyson said.

The deal brought six months of negotiations to a close. Future payments may take place over the course of the next five years subject to revenue and profit targets.

Nine-year old Connections Media had revenue of $2.65 million and profit before tax of $850,000 last year. Its gross assets as of December 31, 2012, were $1.15 million.

The firm provides digital campaign services including strategy, design, advertising, social media, and customized technology services for companies and organizations in the political, advocacy, and corporate public affairs sectors.

Earlier this year, Dyson hinted at using acquisitions to bolster Next Fifteen's digital offerings.

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