Acquisition of Social Marketing Agency by Two Private Equity Firms Demonstrates M&A Still Active

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AdMedia Partners advises social marketing agency Mr. Youth in receiving investment from Alta Communications and The Mustang Group, LLC.

M&A firm AdMedia Partners today announced that it advised Mr. Youth, a social marketing agency focusing on word-of-mouth, social interactive and experiential marketing, in a private equity deal with two Boston-based investment firms. The investors are Alta Communications, which specializes in equity investments in media and communications companies, and The Mustang Group LLC, a private equity firm that invests in industry-leading middle market companies.

Greg Smith, a Managing Director of AdMedia Partners, said, "60% of the respondents to AdMedia's 2009 M&A survey said that even with a troubled economy they expected to be involved in M&A deals in 2009. We're seeing the proof of that now."

Matt Britton, founder and CEO of Mr. Youth, said, "It really says a lot that these firms want to invest in Mr. Youth at a time when many companies are struggling to survive, let alone get adequate funding. Both Alta Communications and The Mustang Group have a deep understanding of our industry and the challenges marketers are facing to engage people with brands. We feel strongly that we have created a new agency model, which has developed from necessity in marketing to a new breed of consumers empowered by social technologies. Our clients recognize our unique ability to connect with the Millennial market and we are excited for this new partnership which will enable us to execute on a growth strategy that will take Mr. Youth to new levels."

The investment will also help fund the continued expansion of Mr. Youth's proprietary word-of-mouth network, RepNation, which just launched an expanded next generation platform. RepNation is already the leading word-of-mouth network for Millennials--and the investment will take the successful network of over 100,000 brand evangelizers to new heights. Companies who have worked with Mr. Youth to launch innovative campaigns on the network include Ford, Microsoft, Macy's and JetBlue.

Tim Dibble, Managing General Partner of Alta Communications, said, "As a media investor, we have seen how rapid changes in consumer interaction with media have made it increasingly difficult for brands to reach Millennial consumers. We invested in Mr. Youth because it is solving this problem, using consumers to reach other consumers with innovative, metrics-driven marketing campaigns."

Carson Biederman, Managing Partner of The Mustang Group, said, "We are thrilled to partner with Mr. Youth to support its continued growth. The management team at Mr. Youth has an exceptional grasp of the new consumer. With RepNation, Mr. Youth is able to set itself apart from other agencies by utilizing social technology and communications to deeply engage consumers who are completely adept at tuning out and avoiding traditional media."

On the heels of the announcement, Britton has been elevated from President to CEO. The executive management team also includes: Brandon Evans, Managing Partner, Strategy and Services; and Doug Akin, Managing Partner, Sales and Brand Development.

About Mr. Youth

New York-based Mr. Youth is a social marketing agency that was founded in 2002 as the antidote to traditional media burnout. Since then, Mr. Youth has worked with some of the world's leading brands to help them connect with the rapidly evolving and highly elusive consumer. Mr. Youth develops strategies and campaigns centered around the modern media mix of word-of-mouth, social interactive and experiential marketing, with a strong focus on creating integrated campaigns that fully engage the audience.

Mr. Youth's RepNation, a word of mouth network of 100,000+ savvy consumers, provides marketers a direct channel to conceive ideas, market with, and gain insights from their own consumers. In just six years, Mr. Youth has become an award-winning agency and a recent addition to the prestigious Inc 500 list of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. Clients include: Microsoft, Kimberly-Clark, Macy's, Ford Motors, and JetBlue Airways. For more information, visit http://www.mryouth.com.

About AdMedia Partners

AdMedia Partners is a leading M&A advisor that provides middle market mergers and acquisition advisory services to digital and traditional media, marketing and information businesses. Founded in 1990 and located in New York City, the firm has completed over 150 transactions worth over $5 billion since 1999.

Recent marketing services and Internet marketing transactions completed by AdMedia Partners include:

  • Representing Brulant, a leading interactive marketing agency, it its acquisition by Rosetta.
  • Representing Range Online Media, a leading search and interactive marketing agency, in its acquisition by search engine marketing firm iProspect, a subsidiary of Aegis.
  • Representing Barefoot, a premier creative and interactive advertising agency, in its acquisition by Omincom's BBDO Worldwide.
  • Representing Big Communications, a leading healthcare marketing agency, in its acquisition by Meredith Corporation.
  • Representing Manhattan Research, a premier healthcare syndicated research and advisory firm, in its acquisition by Decision Resources, a portfolio company of Providence Equity.
  • Representing Juli B, an online luxury and lifestyle brand that emails local content on upwards of 14 cities in the US and Europe to over 700,000 subscribers, in its acquisition by Modern Luxury Magazines, a portfolio company of Clarity Partners.
  • Representing Spunlogic, an interactive marketing agency, in its acquisition by Engauge Marketing, a portfolio company of Halyard Capital.
  • Representing iCrossing, a global digital marketing company, in its acquisition of Web development agency Proxicom.

To access a free copy of the 2009 Merger and Acquisition Prospects for Marketing Services and Internet Marketing Firms, please visit the AdMedia Partners website at http://www.admediapartners.com.

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