KBS Takes Majority Stake in London-Based Albion

Acquisition Gives MDC Shop a European Foothold as It Works to Expand

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MDC's KBS is setting its sights on London by taking a majority stake in Albion, a creative and digital agency.

The move comes as KBS is working to expand its global footprint, and the Albion acquisition will give KBS -- which has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto and Montreal -- an office in Europe, allowing it to go after clients who need an agency in the region. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Jason Goodman
Jason Goodman

Albion founder Jason Goodman will continue in his role as CEO of the 100-person shop, and will take on duties to grow the business across Europe, the MIddle East and Asia. Mr. Goodman noted that the acquisition allows both agencies to complement one another in the U.K. Albion, he said, specializes in more "fast-growth early-stage businesses," given its incubation and acceleration capability with start-ups -- which is not KBS's central focus. He noted that KBS has a more traditional offering that allows Albion to go to market as an more integrated agency than it has been. "It's a very strategic fit," he said.

Mr. Goodman will report to Lori Senecal, who just last week named president-CEO of the MDC Partner Network, a move up from CEO of KBS. "It's really time to build out our global capacity," she said, noting that with global accounts like TE Connectivity and BMW the agency's need to be more global keeps growing.

"We share similar cultures and we approach business similarly," Ms. Senecal said. "Albion is a fast-growing company that shares our passion for entrepreneurship and invention -- two core aspects to our culture."

KBS has multiple units under its umbrella, including one for technology (Spies & Assassins), start-up investment (KBS Ventures) and content creation (KBS Content Labs). KBS will bring those specialized units to London, where they will be overseen by Mr. Goodman in an effort to build out Albion's investments in European startups. KBS and Albion will go to market as KBS Albion, which will include KBS' Spies & Assassins, Content Labs and Ventures. Albion will be able to expand its client relationships into the U.S. though KBS' New York office.

KBS isn't the only MDC agency looking to expand outside North America. Earlier this summer, CP&B acquired London-based the House Worldwide, a venture that promises to connect marketers with a global network of partners founded by former Publicis chief operating officer Richard Pinder. Though CP&B already had a London office, the House staff moved into CP&B's office, and Mr. Pinder will work to grow that office's business.

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