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26/11/2018

Propeller Group buys controlling stake in Upfront Business Development

Clockwise from top right: Martin Loat, Founder of Propeller Group, Kieran Kent, Managing Director of Propeller Group, Rose Bentley, Director of Strategy of Propeller Group, and Jody Osman, Founder of Upfront Business Development.

 

As reported in PR Week today, we’re excited to announce that Propeller Group has acquired a majority stake in Upfront Business Development. We’ll be launching a new integrated offer in 2019 that combines premium PR, content and business development services for our clients in the media, advertising, retail and tech sectors. We’ve also strengthened our senior team with the appointment of Rose Bentley as Director of Strategy.

If you want to find out more about our new service offer then get in touch with Propeller MD Kieran Kent (Kieran.kent@propellergroup.com) or you can have a read of the full press release below.

 

Propeller Group buys controlling stake in Upfront Business Development

Premium PR and content fuels new integrated offer for business development for clients in the media, advertising, retail and tech sectors

Propeller Group senior team further bolstered with appointment of Rose Bentley as Director of Strategy

London, 26th November 2018 - Propeller Group, the long-established B2B PR, content and events agency for the media, advertising and tech sectors, has acquired a majority stake in Upfront Business Development, the specialist in outreach and new business for marketing services agencies and martech companies.

Propeller Group has also bolstered its senior team with the appointment of Rose Bentley as Director of Strategy. Rose was formerly Global Head of Reputation at brand consultancy Wolff Olins. In her new role at Propeller she will take overall responsibility for developing Propeller’s new strategic service offer, senior client leadership and developing skills and expertise within the Propeller team.

Propeller Group’s cash and equity majority deal for Upfront Business Development is a mutually beneficial move that will allow both teams to collaborate and in 2019 launch an expanded offer aimed at media and marketing services agencies and technology providers that target brand-side marketers. The new offer will combine positioning, messaging, publicity and business content provided by Propeller with Upfront’s relationship-building, direct contact and business development expertise.

Propeller and Upfront both provide services to the supply side of the marketing industry. Their clients will benefit from an end-to-end solution that stretches from creating awareness and reputation through direct sales to clinching a contract. This meets the increasing demand for tangible RoI placed on B2B PR and the demand for stronger content and engagement placed on business development people.

The two companies will continue to be located in their existing offices in Fitzrovia and Clerkenwell, but will share knowledge, systems and data. Propeller will continue to be run by managing director Kieran Kent and Upfront by founder and managing director Jody Osman, who will also join the holding company board. Martin Loat, the founder of Propeller and the driver of the deal will now become chairman of an expanded Propeller Group Holdings entity.

Loat said: “This is an important strategic moment for Propeller: more of our marketing agency and martech clients want real business outcomes and sales delivered in return for their investment in PR, content and events programmes. So we decided to skip over classic PR metrics such as media coverage and web hits to concentrate on what matters for clients – sales leads and revenue growth. In Upfront we’ve teamed up with one of the hot shops in that sector. I’d admired Jody and his business for a while, and our teams have jointly pitched on several occasions, so it’s exciting to now have a formal relationship that will help both companies expand.”

Osman said: “I’ve always been a big advocate of Business Development and PR working hand in hand, but the reality is that bringing these together can often be a challenge. As the landscape continues to change, we believe it’s increasingly important that agencies and martech clients adopt a more joined up approach. We are always hungry for great content, events and PR to power our programmes and stand out from the rest. We are excited to become part of the Propeller Group as this will allow us to tap into fantastic experience and expertise, providing a perfect marriage of Business Development and PR.’

Kent said: “This deal between Propeller and Upfront enables us to combine brand-building PR with lead generation activity, to get our clients in front of the companies and people they want to do business with. For our staff it’s also a great opportunity to learn new skills and offer more strategic advice and consultancy to clients. Media relations is still a big part of our offer but we will also focus on broader services such as video and podcast production, inbound marketing and LinkedIn engagement to deliver the sales leads that lots of our clients are looking for.”

*Upfront was advised by M&A Advisory.

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