We Are Social acquired by BlueFocus in $30m deal

We Are Social's co-founders

We Are Social has today announced that BlueFocus, China's leading marketing services group, has acquired an 82.8 per cent interest in the company for an initial consideration of $30m, with further performance based consideration over a three year period.

We Are Social, which was founded by Robin Grant and Nathan McDonald in 2008, will become BlueFocus’ primary digital agency brand outside China, bringing digital and social media expertise on a global scale to the group.

We Are Social will continue to operate as an independent brand, with Grant and McDonald, along with We Are Social’s existing global management team, to continue to lead the agency.

Grant, who is also global managing director of We Are Social, said: “This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for We Are Social. The partnership will allow us to continue investing in our brand and our culture, deliver increased scale and better infrastructure to our clients, and accelerate our mission to put social thinking at the centre of marketing.

“China is also central to both our and our clients’ plans for future growth, and the alliance with BlueFocus will give our clients unparalleled insight into this important fast-growing economy.”

The transaction is subject to Chinese regulatory approval, which is expected to be received within three months. We Are Social was advised by Results International and Osborne Clarke, and BlueFocus by BDO and Ashurst.

Oscar Zhao, chief executive officer at BlueFocus, added: “We’re delighted to welcome Robin, Nathan and the rest of the We Are Social team to the BlueFocus group. As the world’s largest specialist social media agency network, We Are Social provides the perfect platform for us to expand our digital operations outside China.

“We Are Social has been exceptionally successful over the last five years, and we’re confident that with our support, they can go on to do even bigger and better things."

Asked how long the directors were tied to the company for, a spokesperson for We Are Social, commented: "We can't disclose exact information but Nathan and Robin are certainly in it for the long haul. This is about the next decade, not the next few years."

BlueFocus and We Are Social have a number of mutual clients, including Lenovo, Jaguar Land Rover and Cisco.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.