CVC Capital, CDPQ agree to joint majority stake in BlueFocus International agencies

Brett Marchand (pictured), Vision7's International's president and CEO, will lead the combined entity as CEO.

Brett Marchand, Vision7's International's president and CEO.
Brett Marchand, Vision7's International's president and CEO.

MONTREAL: Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) have jointly agreed to acquire a majority stake in BlueFocus Intelligent Communication Group's international agencies.

The subsidiary BlueFocus International manages the three main agency groups We Are Social, fuseproject and Vision7 International. Vision7 includes Cossette, Cossette Media, Eleven and Citizen Relations. 

After the deal takes effect, the agencies will be combined into a new group, while retaining their existing brands.

Yves Behar, founder of fuseproject, is working with the executive team on a new company name, purpose and identity. 

Brett Marchand, Vision7's International's president and CEO, will lead the combined entity as CEO. 

This partnership is meant to provide the new group with capital to invest in growth, focusing on market expansion, building tech and data capabilities and broadening its talent base. 

"Companies today are looking for increased digital-first marketing and communications services and more transparent, business-focused outcomes versus just outputs," Marchand said. "So you can expect to see us investing in talent, expanding on our tech-enabled and data capabilities and we’ll be looking for some great new agencies to join our family via M&A."

CVC’s and CDPQ’s global network will help create a digital-first, technology enabled group of agencies, Marchand said. In the past, CVC has helped expand networks such as Alix Partners, Teneo and TMF Group. 

"Further, these new relationships bring a wealth of experience in M&A and a portfolio of investments that includes the likes of Premiership Rugby, Petco and Breitling, among many others," Marchand said. 

The transaction is expected to be finalized in Q3, pending regulatory approval. 

BlueFocus bought Vision7 and its subsidiary agencies in 2014. BlueFocus ended 2020 with $438 million in global PR revenue, a 4% increase from 2019, according to PRWeek's Agency Business Report

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