Chicago firm buys majority stake in R2i
Digital marketing agency based here gets what it needs to ‘go big,’ CEO says
R2integrated, a Baltimore-based digital marketing agency, announced Thursday that Chicago investment firm Baird Capital has acquired a majority interest in the firm.
Under the deal, the agency’s senior management will retain a stake in the company and CEO Matt Goddard will remain in his position. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The move is intended to give R2i the financial backing and leadership support it needs to “go big,” Goddard said in an interview.
“Strategically, the company is very well positioned for growth in the future,” he said. “We just needed a little more horsepower to achieve it and Baird brings us that horsepower.”
R2i works with companies to develop digital and technology-driven marketing strategies. Clients include Microsoft, Hershey, Chevron, the American Cancer Society, Symantec and MasterCard.
Founded in 2003, the company has grown in part through acquisitions of smaller firms. Last year, R2i acquired Make Me Social in New York City and CatapultWorks in Silicon Valley.
In addition to its Baltimore headquarters on Pratt Street in the former Examiner building, R2i has offices in Seattle, New York City and Silicon Valley. The company employs 200 people, including 80 in Maryland.
Baird’s financial backing will support further growth and acquisitions at R2i. Chicago, Los Angeles and the Midwest are among the areas the company may consider for expansion, Goddard said.
As part of the deal, Owen Sullivan, an operating partner at Baird, will serve as chairman of R2i’s board.
R2i sought an investor that could bring in an industry veteran like Sullivan to bolster the company’s management and operations, Goddard said. He said he will look to Sullivan, who has been in the business for 30 years, to guide R2i’s leadership through the company’s next stage of growth.
“We believe there is significant opportunity for an agency of R2i’s size to lead the mid-market with its technology expertise and ability to build and run multi-channel customer experiences,” said Tom Costello, principal at Baird Capital, in a statement. “Our investment is intended to scale and fuel their growth more quickly, both organically and through acquisitions.”