British firm to buy Just Marketing for $76 million

Anthony Schoettle
October 25, 2013
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Just Marketing International, a Zionsville-based motorsports marketing firm, is being acquired by London-based communications giant Chime Communications Plc for $76 million, Just Marketing officials confirmed Friday morning.

The acquisition will do little to affect JMI's immediate future,  said its founder, Zak Brown, adding that the company will maintain its focus on sponsorship deals in IndyCar, NASCAR and Formula One racing.

The 80 employees at JMI's Zionsville headquarters will not be affected, he said.

"The (Zionsville) office is here to stay and was one of the critically important reasons in why Chime was interested in us," Brown said. "The only thing this will mean to our (Zionsville) headquarters is accelerated growth."

Brown added: "They acquired us for our expertise in motorsports, our clients and our people, and they don't want to change any of that."

JMI, which was founded in Indianapolis by Brown in 1994, is 60-percent owned by New York-based private equity firm Spire Capital Partners. London-based global ad agency WPP owns 20 percent, and Brown holds the remaining 20 percent.

Though Brown is giving up his entire ownership stake for the first time, he says he "still feels like an owner.

"I don't see my mindset changing," Brown said. "I'm still leading the company and I'm still bent on seeing it grow. It still feels like my baby."

In addition to its Zionsville workforce, JMI has 60 employees in London. The company in 2012 reported revenue of $40.8 million and so-called EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $7.7 million.

Brown, a California native and former race car driver, started the firm with a single airline client, TWA. The firm made a name for itself by becoming one of the first companies to represent corporate clients interested in marketing through motorsports. Most firms represented racing teams, and tried to attract corporate interests through their clients.

Over the years, Brown signed deals to represent some of the biggest sponsors in racing, including Subway, DeWalt Tools, UPS, Verizon and Crown Royal. Among other things, Brown was instrumental in brokering a deal with NASCAR to usher in makers of hard liquor as sponsors.

More recently JMI has branched into representing drivers and teams, signing deals with NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon and John Force Racing, a popular drag racing team.

Brown also has become a major presence in the world of F1, even being named as a possible successor to the global racing circuit’s czar, Bernie Ecclestone. Earlier this year, Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles tried unsuccessfully to hire Brown as the CEO of the IndyCar Series.

Brown will remain CEO of Just Marketing but will take on the additional role of group head of new business development for Chime Sports Marketing, Chime's sports division. In that role, he said, he will be able to introduce JMI's clients to a broader array of Chime's services.

"Now, we have the help of a much more strategic partner rather than a financial partner. Now, JMI can offer its clients a more turnkey solution," Brown said.

Chime is a global advertising behemoth. The publicly traded company has 1,500 employees worldwide and annual revenue topping $550 million.

Chime's clients include Samsung, GSK and the International Olympic Committee.


  • Huh?
    Only off by 10 employees, not bad. Don't forget the 60 in London.
  • Which is it?
    This article says 80 employees and the Chime web site says 130.
    • The next step?
      Is this the next step toward ZB taking Bernie Ecclestone's place leading F1? I would say that this story isn't over by a long shot.

    Post a comment to this story

    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. Hello Dear Are you tired of Seeking Loans and Mortgages,have you Been Turned down constantly By your banks and Other Financial Institutions or Micro Finance scheme. This is let you know with 100% guarantee that we Offer loans ranging from $1,000 Minimum to $1,000,000.00 Maximum at 3% interest rate per Month. We give out LOANS for developing business. a competitive edge/business expansion. email address: michealscottloan124@gmail.com We offer the following kinds of loans and many more; * Personal Loans ( Unsecured Loan) * Business Loans ( Unsecured Loan) * Consolidation Loan * Combination Loan * Home Improvement * Xmas Loans for contact to seek for loan email this email address: michealscottloan124@gmail.com Thanks

    2. My name is Mr Henry Josh and i live in the USA California and life is worth living right now for me and my family and all this is because of one man sent by GOD to help me and my family, i once had a life filled with sorrow because my first SON needed a kidney transplant and all our savings were going towards his medications and this normally leaves us with no money to pay our bills or even put enough food on our table and our rent was due and no funds to pay these bills and life felt so unfair to me and every night my wife will cry herself to sleep every night until one day, i was browsing through yahoo answers and i saw a striking advert of a man that gives out personal loans and that the offer is opened to all and i have heard so many things about internet scams but at this point of my life, i was very desperate and ready to take any risk and at the end of the day, i applied for this loan and from one step to another, i got my loan within 12 hours through bank transfer and you know, it was all like a dream and i called Mr Daniel Jones A Man who is the GOD sent lender i found and said, i have received my loan and he smiled stating that to GOD be the glory and i was so shocked as i have never ever seen anyone with such a GOD fearing and kind heart and today, i am the happiest man on earth because by GOD’S grace, my SON kidney transplant was successful and today he is healthy, i and my family are living very comfortable and happy and if you are in my former situation or in serious and legitimate need of a loan, you can reach this GOD sent lender via fidelityloanfirm@outlook.com

    3. Greetings to everyone reading this comment!!! I am Greg William by name. I am out here to recommend the effort of Mark Oscar,I was in need of a consolidation loan amount of 50,000 and as soon as I got in contact with Mark Oscar Loan Firm on Wednesday last week and on Friday last week as well I receive an alert from my bank(Royal Bank of Scotland Group) that the fund was transferred,I want everybody on this site to contact Mark Oscar now via email on how to get a loan because I got my loan from them and I am very happy,so contact them now. Oscarloanfinance@hotmail.com Thanks!!!!!!

    4. Elected officials, like Mourdock, get vested in 8 years. It takes 10 years for all other public employees, most of whom make a lot less money. So much for the promise to finish out his term.

    5. Great state treasurer and a good man!! Just curious if the folks who didn't quite understand his quote would like to tell my daughter-in-law that God didn't intend her! Mourdock's comment was correct but twisted and the article didn't mention that his opponent and the press let the impression stand that Mourdock meant that the rape was intended. Stupid people!!