Independent communications group Bastion Collective has announced it has purchased a majority stake in creative agency Banjo.
Based out of Sydney, Banjo was founded a decade ago by managing partners Andrew Varasdi and Ben Lyttle, along with advertising magnate John Singleton and venture capitalist Mark Carnegie. Last year Carnegie sold his stake to Varasdi and Lyttle.
Varasdi and Lyttle will retain a meaningful stake in Banjo as part of the acquisition.
Banjo’s clients include The Real Pet Food Company, NSW Transport, NSW Health, TAFE NSW, Department of Industry, Alinta Energy, AMP, SafeWork, Minerals Council of NSW/Qld/Australia and Service NSW.
The agency’s 28 employees will be welcomed into Bastion’s Sydney operations.
Bastion Collective’s Australian CEO, Jack Watts (pictured above), said the acquisition is a “game-changer” for the group and its clients.
“It enables us to tap into some of the greatest creative talent in the country and absolute experts in their field,” he said.
“This acquisition aligns with our strategic direction to bring in top-performing agencies with complementary services that deliver integrated solutions to clients all under the one roof.
“As a collective, this means we stay agile, flexible and collaborative and can continue to be nimble and adapt in an increasingly fast-paced and ever-changing communications world.”
Varasdi said: “We have always believed that if you look after your clients, everything else looks after itself, and the best way to do that is to look after your people too. It was really important to Ben and I that we found a partner that shared our vision.
“We have the utmost respect for Bastion and are excited about what they are building. Having spent nearly 25 years in the industry, we have seen it all. We have been part of agencies and holding company models, but this feels very different.
“It all starts with having a strong culture, great people and clear vision. This is what stood out to us from our very first meeting with Bastion; they have created something special for their people as well as continually delivering world-class work for their clients.”
Varasdi also noted a rapidly changing landscape and desire for growth as another key reason for Banjo to partner up with Bastion Collective.
“The landscape for strategic and creative agencies has changed greatly over the years and will continue to do so,” he said.
“Being a single outfit has many advantages, but it also has its challenges. To be part of a network within Bastion will no doubt broaden business opportunities, which gives us at Banjo a new trajectory of growth potential.”
Lyttle said: “Our identity has always been important, and with Bastion, we retain what has made us great, our culture, our way of working.
“Yet, as part of Bastion Collective, we can collaborate, be interconnected, and have world-class support and capabilities that together make the possibilities to serve our clients with even more skill.”