Next Fifteen Communications has merged its agencies Text100 and Bite on a global basis, the holding company said on Thursday. The news impacts US and UK operations; Next Fifteen had already merged Bite and Text100 in Asia and Europe in 2014.
PRWeek has estimated that the combined total revenue of the new organization will be approximately $80 million.
Next Fifteen is bringing together two "strong" firms with complementary propositions, said Next Fifteen CEO Tim Dyson. Text100 is known for its strength in servicing large, global organizations with "remarkable consistency," he said. Bite, meanwhile, has developed a reputation of being able to take on challenges "embraced by high-growth organizations coming out of Silicon Valley," added Dyson.
San Francisco-based Bite CEO Helena Maus has been named chief executive of the combined company, which will have a new, yet-to-be-determined brand.
Text100 CEO Aedhmar Hynes is set to leave the firm at the end of September, following 18 years at its helm and 28 years total as an employee. She will focus on serving as chair of Page, which she said in a blog post on Text100’s website is "one of the most rewarding efforts of my professional career."
"Text100 has always been a huge part of who I am and a key part of my career and I am so incredibly proud of what we have built," Hynes told PRWeek. "The agency is in such a strong position, it is a nice time for me to think about the next chapter of my career."
Maus said she wants the combined firm to create a global agency that embraces strategic marketing and comms equally. Her ultimate vision is for each office around the world to be a local market leader in terms of reputation, talent, and ability and to be finely tuned into each market.
"My near-term priorities include working to knit together the agencies in such a way that we can provide greater opportunities for our staff and even greater results for clients," she said, "also working hard to create a brand that matches the vision of where we want to take the new agency."
Dyson said the merger is not a response to Text100 losing major client IBM after 17 years. While the account’s departure was a blow, Dyson said he knew losing IBM’s business, which Text100 held with Ketchum, "was always a strong likelihood."
"It was more about where do we take the business overall long-term; it was nothing to do with a specific customer," said Dyson.
The 2014 merger in Asia and Europe had a different impetus, said Dyson.
"At that time, Bite was challenged as an organization, it wasn’t doing as well as it had, and had lost some key customers, and had lost its focus in some ways," he said. "At the time, we thought [it was] the best thing to do to help it focus on its key markets -- the U.K. and U.S. -- and at the same time give scale to what Text100 was trying to do in Asia and Europe."
Maus joined Bite in 2015 as North America CEO and was promoted to global CEO two years ago. Previously, she worked at OutCast and Yahoo.
Last year, Text100's global revenue was $68.2 million, a 3% increase over 2016. 2017 revenue numbers for Bite were not immediately available. Revenue for Next Fifteen, which also owns firms including Lexis and The Blueshirt Group, was up 5.2% organically to $276.9 million for the fiscal year ending January 31.
The Next Fifteen CEO said the holding company plans to announce a brand for the combined firm this year.
"It is a complicated process, picking a name for a global company because you have to think about all of the cultural nuances," said Dyson. "We want something that relates to the heritage of both companies."