Mendelsohn and Phoenix to drive Karmarama expansion

The IPA’s first woman president Nicola Mendelsohn is clearly not content to rest on her industry laurels and she’s just brought in private equity group Phoenix to help drive expansion at Karmarama, the agency she joined as executive chairman from Grey in 2008.

Phoenix backed the buy-out of big City PR firm Financial Dynamics and its subsequent sale to FTI Consulting. The private equity group is reported to have bought a 50 per cent stake in the agency.

Karmarama’s other partners are Ben Bilboul, Dave Buonaguidi and Sid McGrath. The agency was founded by creatives Buonaguidi and Naresh Ramchandani in 2000. The two met at HHCL and went on to work at Chiat Day and St Luke’s, making their reputation on work for Channel 4. Ramchandani left in 2005.

The agency ranks 25th in the latest Campaign/Nielsen rankings with a media equivalent billings total of £67m. Last year it won BT’s Plusnet account (worth a reported £20m) and also launched a PR company with former Shine Communications director Chris McCafferty.

In the year to April 2010 it reported turnover of £11.5m and pre-tax profits of £1.7m and Mendelsohn says it is now planning domestic and overseas acquisitions, observing that “it’s time for a bit of disruption.”

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