42West, one of the biggest publicity firms in Hollywood with a roster of A-list clients that include Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Martin Scorsese, has been sold to Dolphin Digital Media, a company that specializes in film and digital content.
The announcement, which was made on Thursday afternoon, indicated that the sale was valued at $28 million, which will be paid in stock. 42West’s three founders — Leslee Dart, Amanda Lundberg and Allan Mayer — will remain in their current roles, as will the organization’s staff in New York and Los Angeles.
“We’ve been extremely impressed with 42West’s profitability and consistent revenue growth, and with the significant percentage of recurring revenue from its large stable of loyal clients,” said Bill O’Dowd, the CEO of the Miami-based Dolphin Digital, in a statement.
Dart started her company, which was originally called the Dart Group, in 2004 after her contract at PMK/HBH famously wasn’t renewed by Pat Kingsley, following a 23-year-run. “At this point, I’m still shellshocked,” Dart told The New York Times about her abrupt exit.
Two of her colleagues, Lundberg and Mayer, joined her new business as partners. They brought along many of their high-powered clients with them, as they built up 42West into a PR and marketing powerhouse.
For three decades, Dart has been a ubiquitous presence at Hollywood’s biggest awards shows and red carpets. In “The Devil Wears Prada,” when Miranda Priestly realizes she must clean up her messy divorce, she says that she needs to call her publicist — also named “Leslee.” It’s a line that star Meryl Streep added to the script as an homage.