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Adweek: Stagwell's High Fourth Quarter Earnings Driven by $75 Million in New Business

Originally released on


Olivia Morley


Via Adweek, Stagwell, Getty Images.

Today Stagwell Inc. announced record full-year 2021 financial results and growth in the fourth quarter.

Stagwell’s total revenue in the fourth quarter was $611.9 million, up 95.5% from the same period last year. Its full-year 2021 revenue was nearly $1.5 billion, up 65.5% compared to the previous year. Fourth quarter net revenue reached $519.7 million, an increase of 160.9% versus the prior period, while the company’s full-year net revenue of almost $1.3 billion is an increase of 100.4% compared to last year. The company’s pro forma organic net revenue was up 11.3% in the fourth quarter and 14.5% for the year.

Stagwell merged with MDC Partners in August 2021. The pro forma revenue calculation assumes that the company solidified its merger with MDC at the beginning of 2021, instead of in August 2021. Today’s earnings announcement is the company’s second as a combined entity.

“Today’s results demonstrate that the merger is not only working, but is working even better and faster than expected,” said Stagwell chairman and CEO Mark Penn in a call with analysts.

Three key factors, the leader said, propel the business forward: its high concentration of digital capabilities, its scale in new markets through recent acquisitions and its focus on flexibility, integration and collaboration.


1,200 engineers

The company’s digital business grew its net revenue 29%, excluding its advocacy businesses, which are tied to the election cycle. Of the company’s net revenue, 51% came from digital capabilities. This is reflected in its work with blue-chip brands like Home Depot and Chipotle. Stagwell brands Code and Theory, YML and Targeted Victory manage much of the digital work, and the company employs 1,200 engineers across the globe, with presences in the U.S., India, Argentina and the Philippines.

A digital-first mentality led Stagwell to develop an SaaS offering for its clients coined The Stagwell Marketing Cloud. Its products include a new augmented reality technology for use at live sporting events, and the company is also building out a full technology stack. The cloud is the company’s novel solution to in-housing. By licensing its technology to clients, the holding company can play an active role in supporting in-housing operations and remain relevant as fewer companies seek external services.

Consolidation is king

The holding company’s agency brands include 72andSunny, Assembly, MMI, Anomaly, Doner, Code and Theory, GALE, YML, Crispin Porter Bogusky and more. It’s on an acquisition spree, and this year it acquired U.K agency Goodstuff and the remaining 49% of digital agency Instrument. It now has over 10,000 employees in over 34 countries and counts over 4,000 companies as clients.

Its been consolidating its subsidiaries, recently merging sister agencies Assembly and ForwardPMX, along with MMI and Media Kitchen.

Consolidation creates scale, and according to Penn, it’s behind the recent success. “Right away, I think we’re in much larger pitches and I think we’re seeing much stronger outcomes there,” he said.

The company’s net new business wins totaled $75 million in the fourth quarter with several accounts over $10 million. Its big accounts include Dunkin’, MilkPEP, H&R Block and Pollstar.

“These are great wins, in both the diversity of services and different verticals of business,” Penn told Adweek. New business wins in the third quarter totaled about $65 million.

Scaling up

On a call with analysts this morning, Penn announced that Stagwell’s operations in Russia, supported by 10 employees, would shut down. He worries about international conditions related to the war in Ukraine, he told Adweek. “I do think the world has a way of working things out,” he added. “Let’s hope that happens.”

Amidst the international turmoil, the holding company is focused on achieving global scale. Its acquisition of Goodstuff expanded its presence in the U.K. and the company plans to expand its portfolio.

“We have some good acquisitions in the pipeline and we achieved our 50 affiliate goal,” he added, referencing Stagwell’s global affiliate network.

Penn feels the market views Stagwell as a wholly different enterprise now, especially as it is achieving large-scale success.

“I started this about six years ago from zero. I started it to focus on building out digital-first services. That approach is the differentiating approach. I think they didn’t know what to make of us until the merger closed.” said Penn. “They realized we’re a $2 billion platform with over 10,000 people and diversified across every essential marketing service.”



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