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Private equity firms acquire social marketing agency

Boston-based Alta Communications and The Mustang Group have acquired Mr.

Boston-based Alta Communications and The Mustang Group have acquired Mr. Youth, a social marketing agency focusing on word-of-mouth, social interactive and experiential marketing.

Alta Communications specialises in equity investments in media and communications companies, while The Mustang Group invests in middle market companies.

Greg Smith, a managing director of AdMedia Partners, which advised the firms, says: "60 per cent of the respondents to AdMedia’s 2009 M&A survey said that even with a troubled economy they expected to be involved in M&A deals in 2009. We’re seeing the proof of that now."

Matt Britton, founder and chief executive of Mr. Youth, says "It really says a lot that these firms want to invest in Mr. Youth at a time when many companies are struggling to survive, let alone get adequate funding. Both Alta Communications and The Mustang Group have a deep understanding of our industry and the challenges marketers are facing to engage people with brands. We feel strongly that we have created a new agency model, which has developed from necessity in marketing to a new breed of consumers empowered by social technologies."

The investment will also help fund the expansion of Mr. Youth’s proprietary word-of-mouth network, RepNation, which just launched an expanded next generation platform.

Companies that have worked with Mr. Youth to launch campaigns on the network include Ford, Microsoft, Macy’s and JetBlue.

Tim Dibble, managing general partner of Alta Communications, says: "As a media investor, we have seen how rapid changes in consumer interaction with media have made it increasingly difficult for brands to reach Millennial consumers. We invested in Mr. Youth because it is solving this problem, using consumers to reach other consumers with innovative, metrics-driven marketing campaigns."

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