Social media publisher Jungle Creations and influencer marketing outfit Goat Agency are in talks to merge into a media and marketing powerhouse, according to sources close to the deal in each company.
Execs from both London-based companies are currently at Cannes Lions and are still thrashing out the terms of the merger, The Drum can reveal. Last year, Goat and Jungle both bid for cash-strapped Unilad – but were defeated by LadBible. They have since changed course and believe merging a media firm with an influencer network would forge an attractive and dynamic proposition for brands.
Jungle Creations is the owner of viral social media verticals like VT (26 million followers across Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube) and food channel Twisted (16 million on Facebook) and also runs six London food delivery kitchens. The company boasts 110 million followers across all of its verticals. Additional channels include Four Nine (female facing), Level Fitness, World Unknown (travel and adventure), and Craft Factory (craft).
Goat, which currently boasts 120 staff, would power up Jungle's campaigns with "data-led influencer marketing". It currently has relationships with Formula E, Malibu, and Lidl (Dream Big with the FA). It has additional offices in New York and Singapore and would almost double Jungle's 130-strong team. Furthermore, Goat snapped up Social Media Agency/Team of the Year at The Drum Social Buzz Awards in 2018.
One source said: "The media landscape is changing with social becoming a core focus for brands to spread their message and story. The coming together of two major players in the social media industry to create a full offering to clients is an obvious and strategic move to further investment in these areas."
The source said the merger offers significant expansion opportunities in the US and Asia for a combined entity. Together they would boast annual revenue figures of over £40m.
In the last year, Jungle has been on the talent acquisition path, hiring Dylan Davenport, managing partner at Adam&EveDDB, to lead its new agency The Wild which launched in March. It also secured its first chief marketing officer in 2018 in The Guardian's Charlotte Emmerson.
Leveraging Jungle's scale, Wild can identify and tap into social media trends for a client roster which currently includes Diageo, Kraft Heinz and The National Lottery. It works with partners across creative, content, strategy and distribution and Wild's first creative work, 'Project Celt' for The National Lottery, landed in April.
Earlier this year Jungle won the B2C Branded Content Team of the Year gong at The Drum Online Media Awards, showing it has been effective in quickly scaling up its creative proposition for brands.
The Drum has approached both Jungle and Goat for confirmation. Both uniformly responded that they do not "respond to rumours".