AMSTERDAM and NEW YORK, Nov. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- LBi International N.V. (NYSE Euronext: LBI), the largest independent global marketing and technology agency with operations in 16 countries, today announced that it has acquired leading social media and marketing agency Mr Youth in the U.S.
The acquisition perfectly fits LBi's philosophy of blending marketing and technology services in-house. Mr Youth's integration into LBi adds breadth and depth to the agency's already significant social media offering, capabilities made more urgent through several significant client wins this year. Including a performance-contingent pay-out structure, the transaction is valued between $40-50 million and will immediately contribute positively to LBi's earnings per share.
Founded in 2002 by Matt Britton, New York-based Mr Youth assists clients in driving engagement with the new generation of consumers and creating lasting brand advocacy through non-traditional channels including social media, experiential, and word of mouth marketing. The agency specializes in creating interactive brand experiences. It connects consumers through shared passions and interests, empowers them and encourages peer-to-peer recommendations with friends, families and others across the social graph.
Over the years, Mr Youth saw rapid expansion of its business and has consistently grown greater than 20 per cent year on year over the past three years, with 2011 annual sales expected to come in at approximately $25 million. The agency was recently ranked 7th among Fast Company's "Most Innovative Companies in Advertising and Marketing" in the world.
Luke Taylor, CEO of LBi said: "Globally, we are seeing revolutionary change in consumer buying behaviour. Our clients are therefore driving rapid growth of social media services within LBi, and the U.S. leads the world market in this field. We believe Mr Youth is head and shoulders above its competitors due to both the quality of its people and the strength of its proprietary technology platforms. After conducting a thorough search for the right agency, we are very pleased to welcome Matt and his incredible team to LBi."
LBi will incorporate Mr Youth's proprietary technology platforms and distribution channels into their own intellectual property deployed across their top client relationships. The proprietary platforms Mr Youth bring to this deal include RepNation (www.repnation.com), a word of mouth marketing platform supported by over 125,000 influential brand advocate members, and CollegeFest (www.collegefest.com), the nation's largest back to school festival and localized student marketing platform, an on-demand consumer participation platform that was spun-off as a standalone entity in August 2011.
"It was clear the moment we met with LBi that there was the potential to do something big. Their global footprint, creative excellence, and technical proficiency will be a powerful mix when combined with our intellectual property, social media marketing model, and deep domain expertise in marketing to millennials. We are incredibly excited about our future together," said Matt Britton, CEO of Mr Youth.
Mr Youth has 140 full-time employees and expects net sales of approximately $25 million in 2011. Historical annual sales growth has consistently been high with historical EBITDA margins in line or somewhat above LBi group levels. The deal is financed from LBi's available cash resources and existing credit facilities. Consolidation is expected to take place as of early November 2011.
Mr Youth will operate as a division of LBi. Matt Britton will remain CEO of Mr Youth and will report directly to LBi CEO, Luke Taylor.
LBi International (NYSE Euronext Amsterdam: LBI) is the world's largest independent marketing and technology agency, blending insight, media, creativity and technical expertise to create value for brands. Headquartered in Amsterdam (the Netherlands), LBi has operations in 16 countries and a staff of approximately 1,850 digital technology and marketing experts. As a marketing and technology agency, LBi offers services to brands (clients) to help them engage with their customers through digital channels across a wide spectrum of their points of engagement, from initial awareness of the brand, through direct interaction with the services or products offered by the brand, to on-going relationships with the brand.
The agency offers a suite of services that are designed to help companies attract, engage and manage customers, more effectively. This full service offering combines analytical, direct marketing and digital competences, which means that LBi is able to develop big creative ideas in the digital space, build and manage complex transactional websites, run complex CRM programmes and even handle the media buying, planning and electronic public relations for blue chip companies. For more information, visit www.LBi.com
About Mr Youth
Mr Youth, founded in 2002, is a social media and youth marketing agency based in New York. The agency's core focus is assisting the world's leading brands in driving consumer engagement and lasting advocacy amongst millennials. The most prolific brands in the world utilize Mr Youth's services including P&G, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, American Express, Ford Motors, and HP.
Mr Youth was recently ranked 7th among Fast Company's "Most Innovative Companies in Advertising and Marketing" in the world. In the past year, Crain's New York Business and Advertising Age both named Mr Youth one of its Top 10 "Best Places to Work," and in 2009 Mr Youth was awarded "Social Media Agency of the Year" by Mashable's Open Web Awards. For more information, visit www.mryouth.com, www.facebook.com/mryouth, or follow us on Twitter @mryouth.
LBi International N.V.
Joop Geesinkweg 209 | 1096 AV Amsterdam | The Netherlands
P.O. Box 94829 | 1090 GV Amsterdam | The Netherlands
Company registration no. 30277334