Clarity PR buys Dynamo, reveals acquisition targets

Clarity PR has bought consumer tech PR firm Dynamo - the "first of a series of acquisitions" planned by the London-based agency.

Toasting the deal (L-R): Paul Cockerton, Peter Bowles and Rachel Gilley

The deal has created a business with revenue of about $10m and more than 60 staff, according to Clarity chief executive and founder Sami McCabe. He told PRWeek that Clarity closed its office in Germany earlier this year as the group shifts focus to acquisitions.

Dynamo's team, mostly in London but with staff in San Francisco, will be absorbed into Clarity's office, with Clarity’s London team doubling to 25. Dynamo's clients, including Improbable, Nextdoor and SurveyMonkey, will join Clarity's roster, which include Neos, ChargePoint and Hired. The Dynamo name will continue to be used.

The UK business will be led by Clarity UK managing director Rachel Gilley, the former Bite Global MD who joined in January. Dynamo co-founders Paul Cockerton and Peter Bowles move to global roles: chief product officer and chief creative officer respectively.

Financial details of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

It comes one month after Clarity announced that The Brewery, parent company of Freuds, had acquired a minority stake in the business. McCabe said The Brewery investment allowed the company to move faster on its growth plan, which includes acquisitions.

McCabe said today: "The deal with Dynamo is the first of a series of acquisitions we're planning to increase our range of services, expand into new geographies and build our experience and reputation in new vertical markets.

"Dynamo significantly expands the depth and breadth of our services and gives us meaningful scale in the UK market. It's an agency I've long admired for its innovative, creative approach to client services and to building an amazing agency culture. I'm excited to see what we can achieve together."

Acquisition targets

Regarding target regions for future acquisitions, McCabe told PRWeek: "We're exploring opportunities in North America, Continental Europe and Asia. None of those will imminently come to fruition, but we're hopeful… to have a couple come through every year for the foreseeable future."

In January, Clarity announced the appointment of Alexander Fink, Burson-Marsteller's former chief executive in Germany, to grow the business there. The German operation has subsequently closed and Clarity has formed a partnership with German agency Akima, where Fink now works. This is in addition to Clarity's other agency partnerships elsewhere.

McCabe said: "For me was an interesting experience and lesson in how difficult it is to build agencies from the ground up in new markets.

"If anything, it's helped crystalise our strategy with respect of geographies – acquisitions is the best way to go. Looking for like-minded, small agencies locally is a much faster, more effective way to enter a new geographic market. In the interim, if we can form partnerships with similar firms, if it gives us that geographic reach, then that's a good short-term measure."

In April, Clarity announced the hire of ex-Hotwire EMEA lead Alex MacLaverty as global chief operting officer.

Dynamo, founded in 2011, has been recognised in PRWeek UK's Best Places to Work Awards several times in recent years, winning praise for its progressive policies such as 'blind recruitment' and unlimited holiday.

Bowles said: "We wanted to take Dynamo to the next level, quickly expanding our work globally and offering more countries our expertise. Clarity and Dynamo are very in sync in terms of current territories and future plans, so it made sense to work together for an amazing future.

"I've worked with Alex MacLaverty... before, and with Rachel Gilley's appointment as London MD back in January, we felt joining forces truly created a dream team of two incredibly strong consultancies that should be added to any tech company's pitch list."

Clarity PR, which is UK-based and has three offices in the US, generated global revenue of $4.9m in 2018, with a headcount of 32, according to PRWeek's Agency Business Report. That year Clarity acquired DRSmedia, giving it its first office in the San Francisco Bay area.

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