Abry Partners cleared to invest in Collective Bias

  • Abry tapping Fund VII for deal
  • Marketing firm CEO also invests
  • Company uses social media aimed at shoppers

Abry Partners teamed up with an executive at a global consumer marketing firm to invest in or buy the Bentonville, Arkansas, social-media-shopper specialist Collective Bias, a filing shows. Terms weren’t disclosed.

The Federal Trade Commission OK’d the transaction after an antitrust review, the Oct. 31 filing said. The filing is unclear about whether the deal is an acquisition or a sizable investment in Collective Bias.

Abry Partners VII LP, the Boston firm’s buyout fund that targeted $1.9 billion in 2014, is listed as the acquiring party. Spokesmen for Abry Partners and Collective Bias did not comment.

Along with Abry, Kenneth A. Barnett, global CEO of Mars Agency, is also listed in the FTC filing as a buyer of Collective Bias. Barnett invested in 2009 in an angel round for Collective Bias, according to Crunchbase.

Mars Agency’s website describes it as a full-service global shopper and consumer marketing company operating in 11 offices in North America and Europe. Its client base includes Walmart, Hallmark, Coca-Cola, Campbell’s and Pfizer.

A spokeswoman for Mars Agency did not reply to an email inquiring about the deal.

Collective Bias said in an August statement that its revenue quintupled over the past three years, reaching $33.6 million in 2015. Over the summer, it was named to the Inc 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in America for the third year in a row.

The company’s website says it’s a leader in influencer-generated content marketing. Collective Bias sets up a real-time dashboard offering engagement metrics for branded content. The company tracks engagements, page views, and all social actions on content across multiple channels.

Action Item: Collective Bias: http://collectivebias.com/

Richard Liu (right), founder and CEO of Chinese e-commerce company JD.com, swipes a card as he delivers goods for customers to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the company, in Beijing on June 16, 2014. Photo courtesy Reuters/Jason Lee