BlueFocus Continues North America Expansion With Stake in Vision7

Chinese Firm Entered the U.S. This Summer Through Stake in Design Shop Fuseproject

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Blue Focus CEO Oscar Zhao
Blue Focus CEO Oscar Zhao

China's BlueFocus is continuing its expansion in North America with a majority stake in Vision7, the owner of large Canada-based shop Cossette and PR shop Citizen Relations.

"We are very excited about the potential we see in this partnership with such a dynamic and growth-oriented organization as BlueFocus," Vision7 CEO Brett Marchand said in a statement. "BlueFocus emerged from the sale process as the best partner that was most closely aligned with our growth plans for Cossette in North America and Citizen Relations internationally, as well as our strategy to expand and grow in digital, CRM and other key technology sectors such as mobile."

Blue Focus, which got its start as a PR company focused on China's tech scene, entered the U.S. market this summer when it bought a majority stake in design shop Fuseproject.

"Having Vision7 join the BlueFocus family will help us gain better access to the North American market," said Oscar Zhao, CEO of BlueFocus Communications Group. "We're very excited about this partnership and confident that the current management will lead the company to the next level of success."

The latest deal marks the conclusion of a seven-month process that began in May when Mill Road Capital, the private equity majority owner of Vision7 for the past five years, said it was looking for strategic options for Vision7's North American assets, the company said.

The shops will operate independently within the holding company. Top executives of Vision7, Cossette and Citizen Relations remain in their respective leadership roles. The companies did not say how much BlueFocus paid for the stake.

Among Vision7's shops are Cossette, with offices across Canada and in Chicago; Citizen Relations, with offices in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.; and Vision7 Media, a media planning and buying agency network that houses Cossette Media and Jungle Media. Vision7 also owns UK shops Dare, Elvis, and Identica.

Citizen Relations is a long-time Procter & Gamble shop. It has also worked with brands like Best Buy and General Mills. Among the clients Cossette's has worked with are McDonalds, Home Depot and Old El Paso.

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