SOURCE: Hakuhodo DY Holdings

Hakuhodo DY Holdings

July 06, 2015 11:00 ET

kyu, Hakuhodo DY Holdings' Strategic Operating Unit, Acquires Sid Lee

Montreal Based International Agency Is a Leading Force in the Industry With Unique Multi-Disciplinary Model; Deal Is kyu's Fourth in Expanding International Portfolio

TOKYO, JAPAN and MONTREAL, QB and NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Jul 6, 2015) - kyu, the strategic operating unit of Hakuhodo DY Holdings Inc. of Japan ("HDY"), has acquired Sid Lee, a global creative company that creates transformative brand experiences by mixing advertising, experiential marketing, architecture/interior design, branded content and digital/social communications. Michael Birkin, kyu CEO, made the announcement today.

Based in Montréal, Canada, Sid Lee has offices in Toronto, Amsterdam, Paris, New York and Los Angeles in addition to its Montréal headquarters. The agency, which includes production arm Jimmy Lee as well as a 49 percent stake in architectural unit Sid Lee Architecture, has achieved a global reputation for its creative work. Within the industry, Sid Lee is recognized as an innovator -- the Canadian trade publication Marketing Magazine has named it "Agency of the Year" four times since 2009. Its entries into award shows have garnered over 300 prizes at top-tier competitions including Cannes, D&AD, One Show, and Marketing Awards.

"Sid Lee is all about conceiving, creating, and producing transformative experiences communicated across all contact points. The agency and its work are recognized throughout our industry for originality and foresightedness as well as for its cultural relevance -- all of which make it a wonderful fit for our group," said Mr. Birkin. "With kyu, our goal is not to be the biggest. We aspire to be unlike anything that's come before and are striving to be the best -- to be a source of creativity that propels the economy and society forward. Sid Lee is a linchpin of our strategy and having its roots in the highly creative Montréal community is a massive bonus. Montréal immediately becomes a key center for kyu and we are also totally committed to supporting Sid Lee's investment in important creative and innovative Canadian projects such as C2 Montréal."

The agency joins Digital Kitchen, SY/Partners and Red Peak Group (Red Peak Branding and RPMC) in kyu, an international portfolio of marketing services companies created in 2014 with Mr. Birkin's appointment as CEO.

"kyu is right for us in so many ways," said Jean-Francois Bouchard, Sid Lee CEO. "We've always taken a broad view of and an exploratory approach toward creativity. With Michael at kyu's helm, we can continue to push industry boundaries -- which will also include geographic expansion. With the transaction, our goal is crystal-clear: we will build Sid Lee into a fully deployed global brand and network over the next decade. This expansion of a Canadian-born agency brand is a first for the advertising and marketing industry in Canada, but Sid Lee has been built on such a bold, future-looking approach."

On that point, Bertrand Cesvet, Sid Lee Executive Chairman, adds, "We were looking for the proper way to expand our footprint to Asia while solidly maintaining our headquarters in Montréal. Teaming up with such a leading Asian organization will dramatically accelerate our achievement of this goal. That's a huge benefit for us and for our clients. We will also grow our Montréal operation to be able to support our expanding network."

Sid Lee's entire current leadership team will remain in place. The headquarters of the company will remain in Montréal.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

About kyu: kyu, the strategic operating unit of Hakuhodo DY Holdings, was created in 2014 to ensure the continuous enhancement of specialization and innovation in the Hakuhodo DY Group. Michael Birkin heads kyu as CEO; its operating companies include SY/Partners; Red Peak Group (Red Peak Branding and RPMC) and Digital Kitchen.

About Sid Lee: Sid Lee is a creative services firm with 550 professionals working globally from offices in Montreal, Toronto, New York, Los Angeles, Paris and Amsterdam. Our company creates transformative consumer experiences for brands -- across all contact points -- leveraging true interdisciplinary collaboration. Rooted in strategic thinking, we offer multi-disciplinary services in the fields of branding, digital and social marketing, advertising, analytics, architecture and retail design, branded content and entertainment. Named "Agency of the Year" four times since 2009, our company has earned a global reputation for its progressive work and the solid results it achieved for top-tier clients. Sid Lee is also the creator of C2 Montreal, a non-profit organization that produces C2 Montreal (, the largest business innovation concert in the world.

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