WEDNESDAY 18 DEC 2013 11:57 AM


Social media agency We Are Social has been acquired by Chinese PR group BlueFocus for $34m. The social media agency, founded five years ago by Nathan McDonald and Robin Grant in London, now employs 400 in eight countries. It’s turnover last year was $57m.

BlueFocus, a listed company on the Shenzhen exchange, was born in 1996 and has been at the forefront of economic growth in China over the last few years. We Are Social should continue to operate as an independent brand with its existing management in place. However, the acquisition will allow it access to BlueFocus’ massive network of clients and access throughout China.

“This partnership will increase the impact of We Are Social on the global marketing industry,” McDonald says. “With BlueFocus as our partner we’ll be able to expand into new markets and explore new opportunities, strengthening what is already a successful global agency brand.”

Grant adds, “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.”

Results International, which advised on the acquisition, says it has tracked 73 similar social media deals from January to September 2013. It expects more social media-focused agencies absorbed by large multinational media corporations. This is as much a reflection of the route small to mid-size comms agencies take in general as it is a response to the adoption of social as an intrinsic part of communications, rather than a bolt-on to PR or marketing comms.