Stagwell acquires agency collective Sidekick

The firm will be added to Allison to expand the agency’s European footprint.

Stagwell acquires agency collective Sidekick

Stagwell has acquired Sidekick, a collective of specialist agencies focused on experiential, digital storytelling and branded content. Sidekick will join the holding company’s San Francisco-based agency Allison, effective on March 1.

The addition of Sidekick will expand Allison’s footprint in Europe and introduce capabilities in the market that are “critical for a new era of integrated brand storytelling,” Stagwell said in a statement. The acquisition will add to Alison’s services in strategic communications, influencer marketing, digital, performance marketing and data analytics, the holding company said. 

The deal effectively doubles the size of Allison’s London office, according to Allison chairman Scott Allison. 

“It's a big deal. It's a big presence in Europe for us,” Allison said, noting that London, Beijing, New York and San Francisco have been the firm’s major drivers. “We see the ability to take their service offering which has been for them primarily in the UK, and expand into the other work that we're doing in Germany and in France. We now have a capability that we've really lacked in Europe.”

Sidekick cofounders Duncan McCaslin and Ollie Burgoyne will stay on as MDs of their respective teams and will both join Allison’s European management team. McCaslin and Burgoyne also serve as MDs of Kreate and Many Makers, respectively, both of which are Sidekick agencies. 

Directors William Howe and Stephen Bradley will transition to Allison in their current roles. 

No other staffing changes are planned, according to Stagwell. 

The Sidekick brand will be absorbed under Allison brand over the course of this year. Sidekick is already supporting Allison clients Amazon, Kyndryl, IHG and Dexcom, according to Allison.

Stagwell provided the funding for the deal, but Allison initiated the opportunity by bringing Sidekick to the holding company after working closely with the firm over the last two years. 

“From the moment we started working with the team at Allison, the chemistry has been there. We share the same values, ethos and professional ambition - and importantly, our clients immediately benefitted from this and saw the value of our partnership,” McCaslin said. “Through working together over the past two years, it was evident that our clients were looking for this type of integrated offering. This made the decision easy.” 

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. 

Sidekick Group launched in 2021 through the joining of experiential agency Kreate and content agency Many Makers. Kreate specializes in brand experience and live events, while Many Makers is a video and branded content agency that uses digital storytelling such as social media, video production, gamification and AR and VR on behalf of the wider group. The combined team has 38 employees.

Sidekick is Stagwell’s second acquisition of the year, following the purchase of creative agency Team Epiphany in January.

“We are pushing to double the size of the company in a three year window. We saw really dramatic growth from a standing start to where we were in the first 20 years in the company. In the next few years, we think there's an opportunity to scale and build,” Allison said. “Stagwell has been incredibly supportive of that and this was another key milestone in the push to a new growth period; taking the firm from roughly $100 million to $200 million in revenue.”

At the start of this year, global COO and cofounder Jonathan Heit replaced Scott Allison as global CEO of the eponymous firm, as Allison transitioned to chairman. At the time, the firm said Heit would work on mergers and acquisitions in Europe, among other duties.

Stagwell, which also houses agencies KWT Global, SKDK and Sloane & Company, reported an organic net revenue decline of 7% year-over-year in Q3 2023. It is set to report its Q4 and full-year 2023 earnings on February 27. 

Allison, which rebranded from Allison+Partners late last year, reported a revenue increase of 18% to $81 million globally and $77.5 million in the U.S. in 2022, according to PRWeek’s 2023 Agency Business Report.

This story first appeared on PRWeek U.S.