Chinese data technology company BlueFocus and Legacy Acquisition Corp. have combined to form a new holding company called Blue Impact.
Legacy provided around $300 million as part of the deal and adds Madhouse, a Shanghai-based mobile-focused paid media and performance platform that specializes in marketing China-based brands outside the country.
Following the merger, BlueFocus parent company BlueFocus Intelligent Communications Group (BFICG) will continue trading on China’s stock exchange, while Legacy is expected to trade as Blue Impact Inc. on the New York Stock Exchange.
Blue Impact will be headquartered in Mountain View, Calif. and led by Brett Marchand as CEO and Holly Zheng as chairwoman of the Blue Impact board. Marchand served as CEO of Vision 7, a Canada-based holding company that was part of BFICG and includes agencies Cossette, Eleven, The Camps Collective, Citizen Relations, Impact Research, Jungle and Magnet. Zheng was a board director for BFICG.
A former client-side marketer with P&G, Marchand told Adweek that ever since going agency-side, he’s “been trying to work on how to make agencies different and better for the future on behalf of clients,” adding, “what’s so exciting about this deal is that this is a chance to do some massive revolution in our industry.”
Combining with Legacy to form Blue Impact will create a number of advantages, Marchand explained. The capital from Legacy and the money it can raise through investors in the public company will allow Blue Impact to grow geographically and through future merges and acquisitions.
Madhouse, meanwhile, gives other markets “a direct connection to Chinese clients,” while Legacy’s experienced management team and strong network will help Blue Impact grow, particularly in the U.S., he said.
Asked about potential areas for acquisition, Marchand said Blue Impact was looking to strengthen its digital media agency offerings outside of Canada and China, as well as creative agencies in the Europe and APAC regions.
Acquisitions are an area where BlueFocus previously ran into some high-profile competition. Last November, Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital was reportedly bidding against BlueFocus to acquire programmatic media buying agency MightyHive. The following month, S4 Capital announced it was acquiring MightyHive for $150 million.
“There’s some rumors we’ve been bidding on the same assets as [S4 Capital]. [Sorrell’s] looking at the world similarly to us,” he said, which offers “some validation that we’re on the right path.”
“It’s also challenging to have a competitor looking at some of the same assets,” he added.