The newly formed holding company Paritee has acquired a majority stake in
the leading Scandinavian communications agency Geelmuyden.Kiese Group (GKG). The acquisition is a first step in establishing a new ownership structure for select local and regional communications and marketing agencies. Behind the launch of Paritee is a team with significant industry experience.
Geelmuyden.Kiese was founded by Hans Geelmuyden in 1989 and with it the professional communications industry in Norway. 2020 saw net sales of USD 17.5 million and an operating profit of USD 1.5 million. The award winning agency has offices in Denmark and Sweden, in addition to Norway. Paritee has acquired 50.1 % of the outstanding shares from Hans Geelmuyden, with an option to further scale its ownership stake. The current partners retain their stakes. A new approach to ownership The past couple of decades have seen monumental changes in how we communicate, and in Scandinavia GKG has been at the vanguard of this development. The agency has acted as a nursery for talents across the Scandinavian communications industry and is recognized as one of the strongest brands and one of the most awarded agencies in the region.
While the industry itself has seen massive changes over the past decades the approach to ownership has remained more or less the same. Most agencies are either traditional partnerships or owned by the large holding companies. We believe there exists a third way, playing to the strengths of both models. We believe that active ownership, deep industry insights and a large international network combined with a fundamental respect for the local nature of communications and entrepreneurial spirit, will deliver added value to the agencies we partner with, says Lars Erik Grønntun, Chairman and investor in Paritee.
- GKG has been my project for 32 years and over the past years I have sought a change in ownership that could help take the agency, our clients and our talents to the next level. I have sought an industrially competent owner and I am certain that the team at Paritee understands the agency and the markets we operate in, and has the qualities needed to develop GKG also in the future. I am very proud of what we have achieved in GKG and I look forward to partnering with Paritee going forward, says Hans Geelmuyden.
- I have the utmost respect for Hans and the agency he has built over decades. He is one of the founding fathers of the communications industry in the Nordics and has populated the communications landscape with numerous talents over the years, says Grønntun.
Geelmuyden.Kiese is a well established company with a solid position in Scandinavia, with scale of operations, long-standing clients relationships, a strong team and management, and a unique passion for the craft. With scale and strengths in strategic and creative communications, it is a very strong starting point for a further expansion in a growing sector, according to Grønntun. Hans Geelmuyden will continue as Chairman of GKG for the remainder of the year, while Paritee will claim two board seats. Karne Lykkebo will continue in her role as Managing Partner of the group. Building the Paritee team Behind newly established Paritee is Lars Erik Grønntun, currently COO/CMO at the technology company Kahoot! ASA. Kahoot! is not associated with Paritee and the investment in this venture will not influence his role at the company. Grønntun’s involvement at Paritee will be as investor and Chairman, while Jonatan Fægri will oversee day to day operations. The company is already in the process of concluding a handful of key recruitments, including a CEO to be announced in due course. Paritee hopes to have a nimble and small team in place before the end of Q1 2022.
- We believe in the value of strong entrepreneurs combined with an international exchange of ideas, and we believe that the best communications solutions of the future are found in the intersection between technology, strategy and creativity. This informes the type of people we want to attract and the agencies we want to partner with. We are looking for people who share our values and want to take part in what will hopefully be a very entertaining journey, says Jonatan Fægri.