Marketing and tech agency LBi International has acquired millennials-focused social media agency Mr. Youth. The partnership could have big implications for Mr. Youth's business overseas, particularly in China and India.
LBi has more than 20 offices across the globe in cities including New York, Atlanta, Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Madrid, Dubai, and Mumbai.
"If we want to continue to grow at the rate we're growing we need a global footprint," said Matt Britton, CEO and founder of Mr. Youth.
Mr. Youth will operate as a division of LBi, and as a standalone brand in the U.S., according to Britton. He will retain his CEO position, reporting to LBi CEO Luke Taylor. Mr. Youth has 140 people on staff currently, up 35 percent this year, said Britton.
Mr. Youth's brand ambassador platform, RepNation, has been used by companies including JetBlue and Macy's to establish peer-to-peer networks of teens who promote them. "Brands essentially hire us to build an on-campus sustainable presence," he said. The platform tracks members' behavior and interests to pair them with relevant brands. The company also runs CollegeFest, a school festival and local student marketing platform.
Britton believes markets in countries such as China and India are ripe for the RepNation platform. "India and China are huge growth opportunities," he said. Britton said he expects LBi to hire managing directors to represent Mr. Youth at various international LBi offices.
The acquisition is valued at between $40 and $50 million, according to a press statement. Mr. Youth anticipates 2011 net sales of around $25 million.
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.