The Clio Awards, a 58-year-old mainstay of the ad industry awards circuit, announced today that it has been acquired by investment company Evolution Media. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
The Clio company’s primary offering, its annual show honoring the best in creative advertising around the world, will continue to operate as it has since its founding in 1959 with no significant leadership or structural changes.
“Evolution Media is focused on identifying and partnering with companies that are at the intersection of media, technology and entertainment,” said Rick Hess and Bob Stanley, co-managing partners of Evolution Media, in a statement. “The Clio Awards have a rich and long-standing history of recognizing and cultivating the most creative thinkers and brands in the world, and we are looking forward to accelerating their growth.”
“Evolution Media’s connectivity to the entertainment and technology industries is a tremendous advantage,” added Clio president Nicole Purcell. “We are thrilled to join Evolution Media’s portfolio and have the opportunity to leverage their network and resources to take the Clios—and the creative industry—to the next level.”
Evolution Media was created in 2014 by the union of sports and entertainment agency CAA (Creative Artists Agency), content company Participant Media and TPG Growth, the investment division of TPG, one of the world’s largest private equity firms with significant investments in companies like Uber.
Since its inception, Evolution has functioned as a mergers-and-acquisitions advisory firm while also investing in a wide range of businesses across the entertainment, sports, media and gaming fields. Examples include social media-focused publisher ATTN:, Asia-based streaming service iflix, live event marketplace Gametime, touch-screen gaming network Scopely and mobile gaming community Mobcrush.
The announcement does not include specific plans for growth within the Clios organization, but the Clios have recently expanded to include divisions created to honor other industries outside the world of traditional ad agencies and their clients.
The organization currently includes four separate yearly events: the Clio Awards, held each September, which also includes both Clio Fashion & Beauty and Clio Music; Clio Sports in May; October’s Clio Entertainment Awards, which is sponsored by the Hollywood Reporter and primarily concerns film and television promotions; and Clio Health, an online-only event honoring the best in health-care marketing. Most recently, the organization launched its own online content channel and entry system in collaboration with Ads of the World.
The Clios has been through several ownership changes in recent years. In 2009, the organization was acquired by E5 Global Media, which bought most of Nielsen’s business and entertainment properties including Adweek, Brandweek, Mediaweek, the Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Backstage and Film Journal International along with the Film Expo business. E5 was a joint partnership between Guggenheim Partners and Pluribus Capital Management.
That entity, later known as Prometheus Global Media, then relaunched several of those properties and split into separate divisions, one of which acquired media and job listings business Mediabistro in 2014 before combining that company and its various editorial properties with Adweek, the Clios and Film Expo Group to create Mediabistro Holdings.
In July 2016, Adweek was acquired by Private Equity firm Beringer Capital, with the Clios officially remaining a part of the Mediabistro Holdings portfolio. Mediabistro Holdings will continue to provide some degree of support to the Clios, which has effectively operated as a stand-alone for-profit business drawing revenue from awards show fees, until the end of the calendar year.