Yves Béhar, founder and CEO of design firm fuseproject, is closing a deal on a partial acquisition by China’s BlueFocus Communication Group. BlueFocus, China’s fastest-growing marketing group, will take a 75% interest in fuseproject.
Béhar founded fuseproject in 1999. The company now has 75 employees in New York and San Francisco, and focuses on industrial design, branding, user experience, product design, and storytelling, often for tech companies like Jawbone.
"We still have the freedom to run fuse the way it should be run, with the means to grow on a global scale," Béhar wrote in an email. "Nothing is changing in the way I run fuse—I’m still CEO, we still choose our own projects, and design our own way, and are fully integrated with our venture partners Jawbone, August, Herman Miller," he says. "We’ll just do more of it." Partnering with BlueFocus allows fuseproject to build a more stable foundation for the future, and to compete on compensation at the top of the industry, he says. The plan is to build new practices, such as a nonprofit consulting business.
BlueFocus is listed in the Shenzhen stock exchange with a market capitalization of$3.5 billion, and had $578 million in revenue in 2013. Client wins that year included Proctor & Gamble, Volvo, Nissan, Amazon, and property developer China Fortune Land Development. The firm now has a total of 905 clients. Fuseproject is BlueFocus's first acquisition in the U.S. According to The Financial Times, BlueFocus will pay an estimated $46.7 million in cash for its 75% piece of fuseproject.