The Brandtech Group acquires Jellyfish
The Brandtech Group has acquired 100% of global digital media and marketing company Jellyfish.
The deal creates the largest digital-only marketing group in the world, with more than $1bn in revenue and over 7,000 employees working for eight out of ten of the world’s largest advertisers, and 49 of the top 100.
The Brandtech Group first announced it had entered into exclusive negotiations to acquire Jellyfish from its private-equity owner Fimalac last August.
Ex-Havas CEO David Jones founded The Brandtech Group, then known as You & Mr Jones, in 2015 following a $300m fundraising round. Jones set out to acquire high-growth, disruptive companies that solved marketers’ biggest pain points in areas ranging from in-housing to influencer marketing, data, e-commerce, metaverse, gaming, and AI. The company currently owns a variety of properties, including Oliver, Collectively, Gravity Road, Mofilm, and Mobkoi. It has also previously invested in Pinterest, metaverse company Niantic, GIF sharing website Gfycat, purpose-powered ad platform Good-Loop, and tech platform Vidmob.
This is the Group’s ninth acquisition and comes after its July 2022 deal to acquire Acorn-i, the global AI-driven e-commerce software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform and Advanced Amazon Partner.
Jellyfish was founded in 2005 by Rob Pierre and currently has more than 2,200 employees across 38 offices around the world. Its clients include Disney, ESPN, eBay, Netflix, Nike, Nestlé, Samsung, Spotify, Playstation, and Uber. The company’s London-based office is in The Shard.
In recent years, Jellyfish grew to become a top reseller of Google ad products, going so far as to refer to itself as “Google Services Limited”. Its success led to French holding company Fimalac purchasing a majority stake in the company for £500m in November 2019. Since the pandemic, however, the broader digital advertising market has buckled amid uncertain macroeconomic conditions, and increased competition from other agencies have threatened Jellyfish’s digital dominance.
Reflecting on the acquisition, Jones said: “Marketing gets ever more complicated and our clients come to us for one thing: to help simplify this very complex world. When I created the company we set out to be the best in the world at helping clients connect content, data and media using technology and bringing Jellyfish into the Group allows us to take this to the next level.
“I first met Rob and Jellyfish back in 2016 and it’s been incredibly impressive to see what he and the team have built over the years. Both companies are industry disruptors at global scale, both built on founder energy, and both are obsessive about solving our clients biggest marketing challenges. And we also share the belief that technology is the key to doing this. I’m obviously excited about bringing them into the Group but even more excited for what we are now going to be able to deliver for our clients. And I’m thrilled to welcome Fimalac as shareholders and board members.”
Emery takes Jellyfish reins
As part of the acquisition, the new company’s leadership team is changing. Pierre will move to the newly-created role of chair of Jellyfish, and alongside David Jones will focus on further merger and acquisition targets to build out Jellyfish’s global footprint.
Nick Emery, founding partner and CEO of Brandtech Media, will replace Pierre as CEO of Jellyfish, where he will be responsible for the company’s day-to-day operations.
A new Jellyfish board will comprise Pierre, Jones, Emery, Brandtech Group partner Emma Cookson, vice chair and Brandtech Media CFO Dawn Dickie, group general counsel Betty Louie, Jellyfish CFO Chris Lee, and Jellyfish COO Ed Ball. Emery is executive Chair and will chair the board.
The new roles take effect immediately.
“Fast-paced, fragmented and platform-led, today’s media landscape is changing at lighting speed,” said Pierre. “Supporting the ambitions of today’s global brands requires something unique and that’s what I believe we have been building at Jellyfish.
“The chemistry with The Brandtech Group was instant and compelling. Joining the Group will supercharge our capabilities and ambitions as we move into the next chapter of the Jellyfish story. I couldn’t be more excited.”