MDC Partner's ad shop Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners (kbs) is taking a majority stake in the London-based full-service agency Albion. kbs reportedly paid between $26 million-$39 million.
Albion will become kbs Albion, with the London shop leading the group's activity in Europe. Albion founder Jason Goodman will continue in his role as CEO, while taking on additional international responsibilities to grow the agency's European footprint. As part of the partnership, Albion, currently with 100-plus staffers, will expand its capabilities to New York. Also kbs special divisions, including Spies & Assassins and Content Labs, will open in London.
Additionally, kbs will expand its early-stage investment unit Ventures to London, to be overseen by Goodman, to build out a platform for Albion's continuing investments in European start-ups. Albion currently holds equity in clients Chemist Direct and Trillion Fund, while Goodman himself is an active angel investor with a portfolio that includes Brainient, Kano, Soluto and Abes Market.
He will report to Lori Senecal, global executive chairman of KBS and CEO of the MDC Partner Network.
This deal started off informally. Both sides have been working together in recent months and decided to make it a more official arrangement. For both, the deal enables global reach as they focus on business and organic growth opportunities in North America, Europe and China.
For its part, kbs was lacking a Europe office; its current locations are in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto and Montreal.
"This partnership allows us to take Albion to the next level," says Goodman. "Our clients have challenged us to take the unique Albion formula international. Our people are seeking more investment in growing further integrated resources and we've proven the need for a platform for investment in new startup ventures. Our partnership with kbs means we can accelerate all of this. It's a major strategic win for us both."
Albion offers strategy consultancy, PR, branding, product design, mobile development, advertising, and data analytics services. Clients include Addison Lee, Compare the Market, eHarmony, Aviva, Telefonica and Jose Cuervo.