Blue Rubicon, PRWeek UK's Consultancy of the Year for 2012, has sold a “significant” stake to private equity investor LDC.
The deal values Blue Rubicon at approximately $48.5 million 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 UK 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.
“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,” said Fraser Hardie, senior partner and founder of Blue Rubicon.
As part of the deal, Blue Rubicon and LDC have appointed an independent non-executive chairman, Alastair Gornall. He was formerly chief executive of Reed Exhibitions and founder of Consolidated Communications.
“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,” said Waqqas Ahmad, investment director at LDC.
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 communications at Powergen, and Chris Jones, former home news editor at Channel 4.
The agency has been crowned PRWeek UK's Consultancy of the Year four times, most recently at the 2012 UK 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.
This article first appeared on the website of PRWeek UK, the sister publication of PRWeek at Haymarket Media.