LBi Buys Indie Web Shop Special Ops

NEW YORK European marketing and technology firm LBi has acquired independent digital agency Special Ops Media.
The deal is valued between $20-45 million, depending on whether Special Ops meets earn-out targets. Special Ops has 64 employees. It had $22.3 million in gross billings, just over $10 million in net sales and $4 million in earnings before interest and taxes.
With the deal, Stockholm- and Amsterdam, the Netherlands-based LBi will strengthen its presence in the U.S. market, where it also owns New York interactive shop IconNicholson. That agency was created in 2006 through the combination of LB Icon with Swedish Web agency Framfab. In all, LBi employs nearly 1,500 staffers in the U.S. and Europe.
Five-year-old Special Ops handles online media buying and planning, public relations and creative for clients like MTV, Lionsgate Entertainment and Ubisoft.
Last year, LBi made several acquisitions, including Atlanta interactive agency Creative Digital Group and New York-based Syrup.

“As we look at landscape, we think the largest scaled digital firms are very well positioned to benefit. In one of the more traditional holding companies we would have been one of many acquisitions,” said Christian Anthony, co-CEO of Special Ops.

Anthony said LBi would allow Special Ops to chart its own course while at the same time calling on its resources: “Their services are complementary. This fills in some of our voids on the branding and search marketing sides.”