Highdive Attracts Private Equity As It Looks to Explore Growth in AI, Media, PR

Chicago-based Highdive has attracted the national spotlight over the years with its repeated wins in the Super Bowl ad extravaganza, and now the agency has garnered attention from private investors as it looks to grow. Svoboda Capital, a Chicago-based private equity firm, has made a “significant” investment in independent agency Highdive, according to Ad Age. Both parties confirmed the investment to Ad Age but declined to share specific financial terms. 

Highdive will retain its independence. CEO Megan Lally, co-Chief Creative Officers Chad Broude and Mark Gross, along with Partner and Group Director Kaley Lambeth will maintain an undisclosed ownership stake in the business, Highdive declared to Ad Age earlier this week. 

Svoboda Capital is no stranger to these types of investments, as its portfolio also includes North Carolina shop The Variable, public affairs agency Bully Pulpit International and full-service advertising agency Marcus Thomas.

According to Ad Age, Highdive doesn’t yet have definitive plans for the investment, but Lally noted “opportunities” to grow in areas including media planning, PR, production and AI. She said that national and international expansion are also “on the table.”

“Anything we do won’t be for the sake of just adding revenue,” Lally declared to Ad Age. “We’re going to look for what makes sense for our team and our clients.”

“We make a significant investment, but we let the companies continue to run the business,” said John Svoboda, a managing director at Svoboda Capital. Svoboda highlighted Highdive’s “superb track record” as one of core reasons the private equity firm partnered with the agency. 

These developments at Highdive mark the latest in a series of private equity investments in ad agencies. Last year, Burrell Communications was acquired by a consortium led by Black-owned private equity firm FVLCRUM Partners and Channing Johnson, a Los Angeles attorney at Loeb & Loeb, through his investment company View Park Capital. In March, Chicago-based private equity firm Keystone Capital took a “slight majority” in the recently formed BarkleyOKRP.

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Photo Credit: Highdive

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