The Independents Group has acquired a majority stake in Bureau Betak, the global events production agency founded by Alexandre de Betak in 1990, BoF has learned.
Over the last 30 years, Bureau Betak has built a name for producing some of fashion’s most high impact shows. It was responsible for staging Miu Miu’s first runway outing in 1994 and creative director Kim Jones’ January couture debut for Fendi, which took place in a glass labyrinth. In 2015, it blanketed a man-made mountain in delphiniums for Dior. And it was de Betak who staged Jacquemus’ June 2019 show, featuring a hot-pink runway set in a field of lavender, which went viral on social media. That year, Bureau Betak generated more than $100 million in revenue.
The deal — which valued the company at over $70 million, according to market sources — is a bet on the return of big physical fashion events as the industry re-emerges from the pandemic, albeit with a digital dimension.
“These days, the digital manifestation is the main reason for the physical event. But we learned through the pandemic that digital-only content is not interesting. You need the physical event,” said de Betak. ”We are here to be a bridge: to design the physical event to result in the best digital content.”
Bureau Betak is the latest addition to The Independents Group, which was born in the 2017 merger of Karla Otto and K2, and has since acquired digital marketing agency The Qode and influencer marketing agency Lefty.
De Betak will continue to lead Bureau Betak as chief creative officer, alongside long-time partners Benedicte Fournier Beckmann, Paco Raynal and Guillaume Troncy. As with the Lefty deal, completed in April, The Independents aims to grow Bureau Betak in Asia, particularly in China, as well as the Middle East.
“This is a major milestone,” said Isabelle Chouvet, chief executive of The Independents Group. “Alexandre de Betak understood earlier than most the importance of culture and content for brands. His vision will help push the ball even further, making us a highly relevant strategic communications partner and giving us the ability to advise clients on campaigns that build on their cultural DNA.”
The announcement comes amidst growing consolidation in the fashion PR space, where the biggest players are adding more and more client services, thereby reducing the number of agency partners with whom a brand may have to work. Meanwhile, niche agencies, unable to compete directly with larger players, are pitching themselves as specialists in specific areas from sustainability to local markets.
Additional reporting by Vikram Alexei Kansara.
Disclosure: Bureau Betak has produced multiple events for The Business of Fashion, including its BoF 500 and VOICES gatherings.