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Who says there's no big money in branding?
A New York PE firm, Searchlight Capital Partners, has purchased a majority stake in national branding and creative services agency 160Over90. AgencySpy cites sources as saying the deal was valued at around $175 million, presumably referring to the value of the entire agency.
It was founded by Shannon Price Slusher and Darryl Cilli, who both reside in the Philadelphia area, in 2001. 160Over90 has offices in California and Florida as well as Philadelphia, and employs about 150, most of whom are based in Philly.
160Over90's client portfolio seems weighted, though by no means exclusively, towards sports brands, both pro (the Eagles are one) and college, and academic institutions themselves.
Branding means much more than slapping a new name on something. One example of 160Over90's clout is a recent $1.6 million contract with the University of Vermont. It will produce videos for its website, a glossy hard-copy "view book" for prospective students, and other marketing materials with a consistent theme defining the school.
Slusher and Cilli will continue to manage the business.