Wild Mouse, the agency founded by former Y&R and GJP creative director John Farquhar, has bought Partners and Edell.
The deal, announced late Tuesday afternoon, will see Farquhar and his partner John Yorke take full ownership from Dennis Edell, who started the agency eight years ago.
The agency will retain the Partners and Edell brand for now, with a “full rebranding” coming in the fall.
The merged agencies will also operate from the Partners and Edell office, with Farquhar assuming the chief creative officer role and Yorke in the president’s chair.
Dennis Edell will stay with the new agency as CEO.
Edell, who was also part owner of Wild Mouse, said the deal arose from discussions about the future between himself, Farquhar and Yorke. “I’m at a point now where my succession planning says I’ll be stepping out of the business in three or four years,” he said.
When the possibility of Yorke and Farquhar taking over was raised, Edell said he had no hesitation. “I couldn’t find two [better] individuals who could take what we started and take it to the next level.”
Farquhar said he and Yorke had been discussing starting something new. “Dennis’s just seemed like a great business to be involved with,” he said.
Started in 2007, Wild Mouse relied on a lot of freelance contributions and at the time of the deal had just seven full- and part-time staff working for clients like Carstar, including the “Where accidents unhappen” campaign in market now. Partners and Edell had about 20 staff, with Ontario Power Generation the agency’s largest client.
Edell said employees were notified of the deal yesterday, and senior creatives Marlene Hore and John Speakman as well as Roy Levine–who had effectively been the COO, said Edell–have already left the agency. “They did a tremendous job and they are terrific,” said Edell. “It is sad,” he said, but with Farquhar taking over as senior creative director, keeping Hore and Speakman wasn’t an option.
“It is always difficult for someone who builds an agency up from nothing,” said Edell of giving up his business. “[But a] decision had to be made who could build on what [I] started and I had no hesitation.”
Farquhar and Yorke are already working at the Partners and Edell office and are busy talking to staff and clients for now, with ambitious plans for growth–be it organically, through new business or further acquisition. “We want to be the next $10 million agency in Canada,” he said.