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In the waning weeks of 2015, Mike Barrett, president of San Francisco agency Heat, and his partners, John Elder and Steve Stone, faced the biggest decision of their careers as they mulled acquisition options for the shop, which, true to its name, had grown to rank among the hottest independents in the business.
Should they join one of the global agency holding companies showing interest?
That seemed like a logical move for a group that had built a reputation for creative innovation with high-profile campaigns on behalf of EA Sports’ Madden NFL franchise and a Star Wars: Battlefront reboot en route to being named Adweek’s