EXCLUSIVE: There’s no announcement of this yet. And details are still very sketchy. But I’ve just learned that WME Entertainment’s Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell have negotiated a deal to join with heavy-hitters Trivergance Founder/Chairman Marc Byron (formerly CEO for Mosaic Group) and Red Peak Group CEO Michael Birkin (the former Vice Chairman of Omnicom), to form LVERAGE, a new global marketing services company. Immediately, clients include such well-known brands as Intel, McDonalds, Adidas, Starbucks, General Motors, Polaroid, Under Armor, and more. While entertainment will be a piece of LVERAGE’s marketing business, it won’t be the majority of its broadbased business. The new company will be based in New York, with offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, and London — all cities where the Red Peak Group operates now.
My understanding is that LVERAGE will operate as a stand-alone entity which in the words of one of my sources is “combining and integrating the services, expertise, and experience” of The Red Peak Group, WME Marketing, and Santa Monica-based REDInteractive.
LVERAGE will be run by Birkin, whose Red Peak Group will now be swallowed whole, and by Byron, whose Trivergance is contributing assets but will stay separate. WME’s Marketing Department also will be swallowed whole, and LVERAGE is now negotiating with its head Mark Dowley to see about coming aboard. [UPDATE: WME’s agency rivals immediately interpreted this as WME throwing in the towel and selling off its marketing department and Dowley along with it. But I understand that WME will own a big piece of the new company, and some sources tell me it’s as much as a majority stake.] REDInteractive, too, will be swallowed whole yet also keep its own business alive within LVERAGE. It’s an online marketing and web development agency run by Donny Makower and Brian Lovell.