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NRG Owner Stagwell Group Buys Majority Stake in CAA Marketing

The Stagwell Group, the private investment firm that owns National Research Group, has acquired a majority stake in CAA Marketing, the branded content creation arm of the agency.

The deal calls for CAA Marketing co-head Jae Goodman to serve as CEO of a newly created entity jointly owned by Stagwell and CAA.

“Stagwell is pleased to welcome a new world-class creative group that has worked at the highest level to the Stagwell team and I look forward to partnering with CAA on its continued success,” said Mark Penn, Stagwell president and managing partner. “I’ve known Jae Goodman for over two decades and we share the belief that outstanding creativity is key to driving measurable business results.”

CAA will continue to operate its separate corporate marketing advisory business headed by Greg Luckman. David Messinger, Goodman’s former co-head at CAA Marketing, will remain with CAA in an advisory role.

The decision to sell a majority interest in CAA Marketing was prompted by an overture from Stagwell that offered an opportunity to expand the unit’s size and scope. CAA Marketing has spearheaded branded content campaigns for such blue-chip clients as General Motors, Coca-Cola, Chipotle, and Anheuser-Busch.

“We have always been committed to developing content and experiences that attract an audience rather than distract it, while simultaneously driving brand and business results,” said Goodman. “An increasing number of brands are focusing on this content-centric, integrated approach, asking us to create ever more aspects of campaigns. Within Stagwell’s constellation of specialized marketing services, we believe we can deliver even better strategic and creative work for our clients.”

The sale of CAA Marketing comes on the heels of Tuesday’s announcement that Singapore’s Temasek has taken a minority interest in CAA and an investment earlier this year by China’s CMC Partners. The activity has spurred industry speculation about changes in CAA’s ownership structure, currently led by majority investor TPG Capital. But insiders maintain there has been no change in TPG’s holdings and the timing of the various deals has been coincidental.

Stagwell Group was formed in 2015 by former political strategist Penn to invest in marketing services. In late 2015, Stagwell acquired theatrical research firm NRG. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is among the fund’s backers.

(Pictured: CAA Marketing created “The Scarecrow” branded content campaign for Chipotle.)

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