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BlueFocus Communications Group buys Vision7

BlueFocus Communications Group of Beijing has acquired a majority stake in Vision7 International of Quebec City. The Chinese company acquired its position from Mill Road Capital of Connecticut, which has been the private equity majority owner of Vision7 for five years. According to the company, senior management executives of Vision7 will "significantly" increase their ownership stake through this agreement, but no details are available.

Vision7 is the holding company for advertising agency Cossette, media agency Vision7 Media, and public relations firm Citizen Relations, among others. Vision7's United Kingdom assets, comprising agencies Dare, Elvis and Identica, will no longer be run as a group, but as individual brands.

Vision7 will continue to be headquartered in Quebec City. The senior executives of Vision7, Cossette and Citizen Relations will remain in their existing positions. These include: Brett Marchand, CEO of Vision7 and Cossette; Melanie Dunn, president of Vision7 and Cossette in Quebec; Dave Lafond, president of Cossette in English Canada; Louis Duchesne, vice-president and director general of Cossette in Quebec City; Colin Schleining, president of EDC North America; and Daryl McCullough, CEO of Citizen Relations in Los Angeles. Two of Cossette's founding partners, Claude Lessard and Pierre Delagrave, will assume non-executive roles in the organization.

"We are very excited about the great potential we see in this partnership with such a dynamic and growth-oriented organization as BlueFocus," said Marchand. "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 internationally, as well as our strategy to expand and grow in digital, CRM and other key technology sectors such as mobile. BlueFocus has demonstrated a strong commitment towards the existing management team and the direction we are taking the company. This confidence, along with increased management ownership, will ensure that our brands will continue to operate independently and, in the case of Cossette, we will remain a Canadian agency, with its head office in Quebec City."

BlueFocus, founded in 1996, has approximately 3,500 employees. Its services include public relations, brand management, media buying and digital marketing. Its subsidiaries include Blue Digital, SNK and Bojie Media. Its clients include Lenovo, China Merchants Bank, Cisco, AMD, L'Oreal, Estee Lauder, Pepsi, Wrigley, Financial Times, GM, Siemens and ABB. It also has interests in UK-based We Are Social and Huntsworth, as well as Fuseproject in North America. Its 2014 revenues are approximately US$900 million.

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