42West parent company Dolphin Entertainment has expanded its marketing/PR footprint with the acquisition of The Door, a leading lifestyle and hospitality public relations, creative branding and marketing services agency hatched a decade ago by co-founders Lois Najarian O’Neill and Charlie Dougiello.
The two companies will operate separately, but Dolphin Entertainment CEO William O’Dowd said there is symmetry and opportunity between the new acquisition and the entertainment PR firm run by Leslee Dart, Amanda Lundberg and Allan Mayer. He pointed to a recent Observer article that ranked the pair as the third and fourth most powerful PR firms in the U.S. as reason to believe Dolphin has expanded in a compatible way.
The Door’s client list ranges from celebrity chefs like Rachael Ray to hotel groups like Viceroy Hotels and Resorts to restaurant groups such as Starr Restaurants to consumer brands such as FAO Schwarz. Najarian O’Neill, who’ll be president, and Dougiello, who’ll be CEO, each comes from entertainment backgrounds; she from the music industry where she most recently did PR for a Prince tribute concert and work for the estates of Michael Jackson and George Michael, and he in the chef space with clients like Ray.
“The Door is the 42West of lifestyle and hospitality and those brands often seek opportunities related to entertainment and to have a voice in that world,” O’Dowd told Deadline. “Whether it is hotel chains, restaurant groups, A-list chefs or consumer products, that this becomes a seamless additions and not competing agencies.”
He said the deal has been in the works since Dolphin joined Nasdaq late last year; he expects it to be the first of several acquisition deals.
“We are looking at one a year to continue to build out a group of market leaders in the marketing side of the business,” he said. “We would expect to see acquisitions of other types of companies, including social media, digital marketing, data analytic. We have a strong interest in growing in the full service marketing content creation space. The Door is a market leader in New York and Chicago, and there is room to grow domestically, to expand their L.A. presence, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they take off internationally in London and elsewhere. We see them benefiting from the access and reach of 42West.”
“We are beyond thrilled to welcome The Door as a sister agency in the Dolphin family,” 42West co-CEOs Dart, Lundberg and Mayer said. “We’ve long admired the intelligence and creativity with which Lois and Charlie have built The Door, and we share a common vision and excitement for the possibilities of what we can do together. In terms of our respective business operations, not only do we extend each other’s range in terms of the added services and expertise each of us can now offer, but by working together, we expect to be able to attract and service a much wider range of clients than ever before. As a result of our access to the services and expertise of The Door, we look forward to developing entirely new lines of business.”
Tom Strauss of Strauss Capital Partners and Golenbock Eiseman advised The Door. Greenberg Traurig repped Dolphin Entertainment.