NEWS27 March 2024

The Gate and MBAstack merge, combining branding and CX

CX M&A News UK

UK – London-headquartered marketing and insight agency group MSQ is merging its creative agency The Gate and customer experience business MBAstack.

The Gate London team

The combined entity, which will be called The Gate, will offer a mixture of brand building, customer experience and customer relationship management (CRM).

Jamie Elliott, chief executive at The Gate, will lead the integrated company along with Stephen Maher, formerly chief executive and chair at MBAstack, who will chair The Gate. They are joined by Kit Altin as chief strategy officer and Lucas Peon as chief creative officer.

James Middlehurst and Charlotte Wolfenden (currently managing directors at MBAstack and The Gate respectively) will be managing directors responsible for joining up the brand and customer experience practices.

MBAstack was formed in 2021 when MSQ bought digital and customer engagement agency MBA and merged it with its customer acquisition business Stack. MBAstack has doubled in size since it was formed, working with brands including AkzoNobel/Dulux and DoorDash, and working with The Gate to jointly pitch for business.

Jamie Elliott, chief executive, The Gate, said: “This union formalises what we have been doing informally for a couple of years now. Building on strong track records in brand and CX creativity, we have developed another track record in joining them up.”

Stephen Maher, chair of The Gate, said: “We know that to win today, great brands need to equally fuse the power of data, tech and creativity in marcomms as well as always think and operate full-funnel. That is why this merger is so apposite and timely.”

The move follows private equity firm One Equity Partners taking a majority stake in MSQ in 2023.

Other MSQ businesses include research and insights agency Freemavens, B2B marketing company Stein IAS and digital agency Twentysix.

Kate Howe, executive director, MSQ, said: “This move is further recognition of the speed at which brands need to move today and clients’ need for transformative creative platforms that can deliver distinctive, relevant and personalised experiences at every touchpoint.”