Media Moves

Hearst Newspapers buys stake in Buffalo-based agency

February 11, 2020

Posted by Mariam Ahmed

Tod Martin

Tod Martin is selling a strategic equity stake in the region’s largest marketing and communications firm to Hearst Newspapers, part of Hearst Corp.’s global media conglomerate, reports Buffalo News. The deal has given the Martin Group a considerable cash injection and corporate backing.

Simultaneously, the new partnership will also allow for Martin Group to expand its reach through Hearst’s network of over 360 businesses globally, touching various dimensions, including media, information and other services.

Also, Martin will be the only traditional advertising, marketing and branding firm within Hearst Newspapers, TV stations, magazines, financial research, medical services including jet and helicopter maintenance.

As part of the deal, the local firm will stay independent and Tod Martin will remain the majority owner while taking on the role of chairman and CEO. George R. Hearst III, president and publisher of the Albany Times-Union, will join him as Hearst’s designee on a newly created board of directors.

“The investment we are making in the Martin Group will help the agency continue to rapidly evolve and expand, while at the same time offer a combined ability to provide customized marketing solutions and strategies,” Hearst said.

Lisa Strock and Matt Davison, two of Martin’s executives have invested in the firm joining Martin and Hearst as owners and board members.

Strock will take on the role of chief operating officer and Davison will become chief business officer.

“We have grown exponentially over the last five years, into a real powerhouse regional firm, pushing towards national,” Martin said. “I’ve been at this for 18 years as my own company. I’m looking to remain as chairman and CEO for the remainder of my career, but I’m not satisfied. I want to take it to the next level.”

Founded in 2001 with one employee, Martin has grown rapidly in the last two decades, and now has more than 100 employees across upstate New York, with offices in Buffalo, Rochester and Albany, and $17 million in annual billings

“We are delivering and fighting and competing on a national scale and winning, right here in Buffalo, because of what we are capable of and our commitment and passion to deliver great work,” Martin said.

Though the terms of the deal were not disclosed, Martin said he was first approached by Hearst officials about the investment.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry daily or weekly.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry.