Acquisitions Frenzy Hits High Fashion Runways

September 9, 2021

Bureau Betak, the event and production company founded by Alexandre de Betak in Paris in 1990, has sold a majority stake to The Independents group, according to representatives from both firms. Amid a record-setting spree of mergers and acquisitions in 2021, the deal is the latest in a string of ventures for the growing public relations and marketing agency. The deal also cements a formal partnership between two familiar fashion figures: Karla Otto has been a fixture at her clients’ events for 40 years, while hearing Betak’s voice on the microphone requesting “Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seat” is as ritualistic as seeing Anna Wintour taking her place in the front row.

With the addition of Bureau Betak and its digital-content branch Bureau Future, which produce fashion shows and events for many of the most important brands in fashion, The Independents will be one of the industry’s widest-ranging service agencies, with 12 offices across Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the U.S.

The Independents was founded in 2017 when public relations veterans Otto and Isabelle Chouvet merged their firms, Karla Otto and K2, respectively, with Chouvet acting as CEO. With funding from minority shareholder Cathay Capital and financing provider Tikehau Capital, The Independents then acquired Dubai-based luxury communications agency The Qode in 2018 and Paris-based influencer marketing platform Lefty in April.

The terms of this deal were not disclosed, although Betak says that Bureau Betak had reached $100 million in revenues in 2019. With the acquisition, The Independents’  revenues will reach over $200 million, the group says. Betak says he will join the board of The Independents and continue to work with clients, while three longtime collaborators, Benedicte Fournier Beckmann, Paco Raynal and Guillaume Troncy, have been promoted to managing partners.

“I opened Bureau Betak over 30 years ago. I have been alone all my life in terms of capital and I am quite happy and proud,” said Betak in an interview on Monday. “But there is a moment when you realize that with a bit more help and a bit more professional [partnership] than just yourself, you can go stronger, faster and not just higher but also across new worlds.” …

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