Clarity PR gains Bay Area footprint by acquiring DRSmedia

Clarity also has offices in New York City and Berlin, as well as its London headquarters.

Sami McCabe
Sami McCabe

SAN FRANCISCO: Clarity PR has purchased DRSmedia, giving Clarity its first office in the San Francisco Bay area, the two agencies said on Tuesday.

The deal closed last week. Specific financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but a Clarity spokesperson said it will put the firm in "the $7 million to $8 million revenue range." Clarity’s 2017 global revenue was $3.4 million, up 3% compared with the year prior.

"This is in step with our growth strategy, one of the pillars of which is expanding our physical locations," said founder and CEO Sami McCabe, who launched the firm in London. "We’ve always had clients on the West Coast. And in the Bay area we have primarily worked with tech companies so it’s long been in our plans to have a physical presence there."

Clarity also has offices in New York City and Berlin, as well as its London headquarters. 

McCabe said he has worked with DRSmedia founder David Speiser since 2010 and and knows the firm well.

"I personally moved to the Bay Area to San Francisco 12 months ago," McCabe said. "I spent the last year working hard to identify the ideal acquisition opportunity. It just so happens that the one I pursued is the one I’ve known about the longest. The trust I had with [Speiser] was a material factor."

Speiser, who will become MD of Clarity’s newest office, said the benefits of becoming part of Clarity cancel out the angst he felt about selling his business. The DRSmedia brand will be discontinued.

"I’m every bit excited about the opportunity to do more with more resources, more capital, more human talent than I’ve ever had access to before," he said. "So the excitement of that at least outweighs the anxiety about giving up autonomy."

McCabe said he is planning other acquisitions in North American markets and locations in Europe and South America.

"We are trying to build an agency that sits somewhere between the really big international global PR firms and the single market, single geographic area boutique firms," he said.

In the statement announcing the deal, Speiser said he’s "long admired Clarity as a creative engine in a field largely filled with mediocrity."

Explaining the quote, Speiser said he didn’t want to sell his business to the kind of firms that use "say and spray" tactics or try "blasting a bunch of people on BCC." 

"I don’t want to come across as holier than thou or as saying everybody sucks but me," he said. "But it’s awfully nice to be working with people who work hard and are motivated by the right thing and see the profession as a chance to deliver value, not extract value."

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