Social media marketing agency Social Chain has merged with a German online retailer.
The Manchester-based agency now has a public listing for the first time as Lumaland/Social Chain AG, which will be headquartered in Berlin and has bases in Manchester, London, New York and Munich.
The merged business is valued at €186 million and will market products including beanbags and mattresses to 1.8 billion potential customers.
It will combine social media and social commerce, integrated through its own tech platform LINKS.
Social Chain co-founder Steve Bartlett will manage the company alongside Holger Hansen and Wanja Oberhof.
Lumaland chairman Georg Kofler, who founded German media companies ProSieben and Premiere, will own 47 per cent with management holding 42 per cent. Kofler said of the new company: “We are a true house of entrepreneurs.”
The reverse merger took place through the contribution of the shares of The Social Chain Group AG as a non-cash capital increase at Lumaland AG.
Earlier this summer Bartlett and Social Chain co-founder Dominic McGregor wrote on LinkedIn that they planned to take Social Chain public.
Bartlett said the firm is now more focused on its own branded products and pages rather than celebrity recommendations on social as the market has reached saturation point.
“In the early years of Social Chain we differentiated ourselves from our immediate competition through a disruptive approach to social media,” he said. “As digital natives, we saw the potential of social media beyond what is being used for at the time.
“Our success has shown what big thinking, and reimaging conventional business models can achieve. We’re now using our experience and our existing ecosystem to integrate our very own brands, which we call Social Media Brands.”
Social Chain will continue to work with customers including Amazon, Apple Music and Boohoo.com.
Lumaland/Social Chain AG is listed on the Xetra electronic exchange and the Düsseldorf stock exchange and plans to list on the Nasdaq or the Frankfurt Stock Exchange by mid-2020.
Lumaland earned revenues of €90m in 2018.