Agreement creates world’s first post-advertising agency.
January 22, 2007 (New York, NY) — Story Worldwide, the world’s largest independent content marketing agency, announced a merger today with Byte Interactive, a leading strategic digital marketing agency. The combined company, which will retain the Story Worldwide name, will focus its business on the creation of content-rich marketing across all forms of media. Seaport Capital, a New York-based private equity firm specializing in media investments, provided the equity for the transaction.
Story Worldwide was formed in July 2005 through a management buyout of the former custom publishing division of the Interpublic Group of Companies. Story hosts a portfolio of global clients including Lexus, RCI Global Vacation Network, Microsoft, UPS and Bank of America. Byte Interactive, formed in 1997 by CEO Michael LeBeau, produces award-winning digital material for more than a dozen international clients including Unilever, Nestle Waters, Coty and other major brands.
The newly structured Story Worldwide will be the first agency of its kind, positioned to transcend traditional advertising to give consumers the relevant brand relationships they seek. Story’s combination of strategic content and multi-channel execution will help brands to more effectively communicate with their consumers, reaching people through more genuine forms of engagement.
Story Worldwide CEO Kirk Cheyfitz will remain in that position in the newly structured organization. Byte Interactive Founder and CEO, Michael LeBeau, will assume the position of chief marketing officer of Story Worldwide.
“The merger of our two companies creates the world’s first post-advertising agency — a media and marketing services company providing unmatched expertise in marketing strategy, interactive development and content creation,” said Cheyfitz. “We are building Story to provide brands with exactly what they need as traditional advertising becomes less and less effective.”
“This merger represents much more than ‘digital meets content’ — it lays the foundation for a new breed of agency,” said Michael LeBeau. “In the current marketing universe brand messages all too often interrupt the consumer; this new structure will more effectively engage the consumer with the brand through interaction.”
The combined operation employs more than 160 full-time people in Seattle, New York, South Norwalk and London and has contracts in place that are expected to deliver combined billings in excess of $30 million in 2007.
About Byte Interactive, LLC
Byte Interactive, LLC is a strategic digital marketing agency that specializes in strengthening brand equity and loyalty for global consumer-product companies. The agency creates and executes online, wireless and other digital media campaigns that complement the overall marketing mix, going beyond convention to create positive experiences that best connect consumers to a brand. Byte Interactive partners with major consumer-brand companies, including Coty Beauty, Playtex Products, Unilever, Nestle Waters North America, BIC, Vanity Fair and others. Founded in 1997, Byte Interactive is headquartered in South Norwalk, Conn.
About Story Worldwide
Story Worldwide, serving more than 15 major global and regional clients through its offices in London, New York and Seattle, has a core skill set involving all aspects of storytelling, from journalism to serial fiction. Story specializes in connecting brands to their audiences with engaging long-form content in all media, including print, web, video and film. The company has earned high marks for its traditional publishing efforts — books, magazines, newsletters, white papers, annual reports and other print products. It also has a heritage of pioneering and award-winning work in new technologies. Recent efforts have included creating an original serial mystery for Lexus and the complete re-launch of the world’s largest paid circulation travel magazine, Endless Vacation, for RCI Global Vacation Network. Story also partners with such leading brands as UPS, Nortel, General Motors, Bank of America and others.