Arun Sudhaman 29 Jan 2016 // 9:00AM GMT
LONDON—Zeno has acquired 3 Monkeys, the £6.5m UK independent PR firm founded in 2003 by Angie Moxham.
Zeno, a subsidiary of DJE Holdings and sister agency to Edelman, acquires 100% of 3 Monkeys, with Moxham taking charge of Zeno Europe. 3 Monkeys MD Christine Jewell becomes MD of 3 Monkeys | Zeno in the UK, with the combined business counting 75 people and revenue of approximately £7.5m.
Steve Earl, who has led Zeno UK since its European launch three years ago, will continue as Zeno Europe MD, focusing on the regional network and technology clients.
The deal, the latest in a string of Edelman acquisitions, comes after Zeno grew revenue by 11% in 2014 to reach $40m. Zeno CEO Barby Siegel told the Holmes Report the the firm is focused on cracking the $100m barrier, following rapid growth since her arrival at the agency in 2009.
“This gives us scale in the UK and a powerful platform in which to grow into Europe and beyond,” said Siegel. “For 3 Monkeys, it gives them them opportunity to instantly globalise their unique brand of communications. The similarities are almost uncanny.”
Since launching in 2003, 3 Monkeys has grown to become a full service agency across consumer, corporate and B2B, with a client roster that includes Microsoft, Coca-Cola Enterprises, AB inBev, Starbucks and BT.
After investigating expansion options in the US and Asia, including acquisitions, Moxham has decided that a sale represents the best path forward for her firm. "No route, however, could come close to the capabilities and bandwidth we gain on day one by joining forces with Zeno," she told the Holmes Report.
"I wasn’t planning to sell at all, but then I met Barby — they are very similar to us," Moxham added. "We’re staying independent, but joining a much bigger family."
The deal takes Zeno to nearly 400 people and $60m in global revenue, with around one-third coming from outside the US. Richard Edelman, who chairs the firm's DJE Holdings parent group, noted that he and Siegel want to build a viable competitor to the likes of Golin, WE Communications and Porter Novelli.
"We’re a family business — we do things in a certain counter-cyclical kind of way," said Edelman, referring to the hectic pace of acquisition across his agencies. "We’re going to take share because we’re being properly aggressive and the networks are not."
Edelman added that 3 Monkeys appealed because of the entrepeneurial culture that Moxham has created, along with the fact that the firm had taken specific accounts — Microsoft and Starbucks — from Edelman. "I respect people who beat us," he said. "That’s good. I also like the fact that Angie wanted to continue and be an owner, partly. She wants to help transform this business into a real global player — we need to be more than American."
Siegel noted that Zeno will aim to make more acquisitions in line with its aggressive growth plans. “There is a a lot of opportunity to grow organically, no question, but we will certainly have our eye on what a smart, strategic acquisition will be. The goal is not many dots on the map, the goal is depth. We’re focused on the right global footprint — I don’t think there’s another midsize now with our global footprint."
In addition, Moxham noted that Tristan Pineiro is returning to 3 Monkeys from Grayling to co-lead the consumer/brand practice with Anna Speight.