Digital promotion agency ePrize today announced that it has been acquired by Catterton Partners, a consumer-focused private-equity firm. Based in Detroit, ePrize specializes in mobile, social-media and web campaigns, promotions and sweepstakes for clients such as AT&T, Coca Cola, The Gap, and Procter & Gamble. The investment will be used to accelerate the agency's overall growth, and will focus specifically on developing its mobile and social business.
"Where they've been getting great growth is in mobile and social channels," said Tolman Geffs, co-president of the Jordan Edmiston Group of New York, the investment bank that represented ePrize during the acquisition. EPrize estimates that by the end of 2012, 80% of all its campaigns will incorporate a mobile component. "[The agency] is one of the best examples of how mobile and social can work at scale for big brands," Mr. Geffs said.
Catterton Partners invests in retail brands, like Restoration Hardware, Build‐A‐Bear Workshop, and P.F. Chang's China Bistro, and sees how customers use smart phones and social media in their decision making process said Mr. Geffs. Catterton has a "unique appreciation for social and mobile's ability to drive consumers and get feet into the stores."
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. EPrize ranked as the country's No. 17 promotion agency in 2011, according to Ad Age DataCenter. It reported revenue of $53.8 million in last year, up 28.0% from 2010. At the end of 2011, ePrize had 336 employees in its Detroit, Chicago, Seattle, New York and Los Angeles offices.
EPrize was founded in 1999 by Josh Linkner. The company raised $11 million in two rounds of financing in 1999 and 2001 and received a $32 million investment in 2006. It also made two acquisitions of its own in the last year, picking up a division of Apollo Data Technologies in July 2011, and Cellit, a mobile marketing company, in January 2012.