Cutters expands to Detroit via RingSide acquisition

Tim McGuire’s Cutters, one of Chicago’s biggest and most established production/post houses, just got bigger.  It finalized the acquisition last week of integrated media studio RingSide Creative, LLC of Oak Park, Michigan.

Cutters purchased RingSide in partnership with Detroit’s Steven Wild’s Wild Acquisitions and Brian Efrusy of RingSide, who continues as the company’s CFO.  

Wild becomes RingSide’s CEO while Doug Cheek, RingSide’s founder and former CEO, remains with the company in an executive position. 

Wild brought business friends McGuire and Cheek together in the new venture.  How the ownership shares were divided among the partners and the purchase price were not divulged.

The new venture, says Cheek, “will significantly benefit RingSide’s staff, clients and the entire Detroit creative community.”

RingSide is Cutters first business acquisition and its first venture in the Detroit market, which McGuire notes 
“is experiencing a rebirth” with the resurgence of the automotive industry, several new agencies opening in Detroit and the award-winning advertising being produced there.

RingSide partners Steven Wild, Doug Cheek, Tim McGuire and Brian EfrusyThis is also Steven Wild’s first major deal since forming Wild Acquisitions in April, 2010, after 25 years with the company he co-founded.  

At Grace & Wild, he orchestrated more than a dozen mergers, acquisitions and start-ups to create a large and successful multi-faceted creative and technical services conglomerate.

RingSide Creative, an integrated media studio was formed when Cheek sold his General Television Network (GTN) to DG/Fast Channel in 2007, but maintained its creative talent and technical resources under the RingSide banner. 

The company diversified its creative services, satisfying the growing demand for integrated media content – which undoubtedly attracted Wild to RingSide’s growth potential and its synergies with Cutters.

Cutters’ companies – Cutters editorial, Another Country audio, Sol design, Dictionary Films spot production – are additional resources for RingSide.  

Ringside “a great company similar to the Cutters model”

Cutters’ executive producer Craig Duncan spent more than a decade in Detroit with different Grace & Wild post companies and has an insider’s knowledge of the Motor City’s advertising and production industry.  He came to Chicago in November, 2009 to head Red Car and joined Cutters last December.  

Duncan calls RingSide “a great company with good people that’s similar to the Cutters model.  It’s also about the same size, with about 60-65 employees, and offers the same services.  Plus, it has color correction and brand experience across multiple platforms, including digital and interactive.”

He agrees that the synergies between Cutters and RingSide will enhance both companies.  On the automotive front, McGuire notes that Cutters’ two L.A.-based editors, Barnett Kiel and Ryan McGuire, have strong car reels. 

For Detroit automotive clients, Kiel and McGuire can edit and be involved early on in West Coast shoots and edit and finish at RingSide. 

Similarly, RingSide editor Chris Hafner can tap into the Cutters facilities and develop opportunities and clientele through Cutters’ Chicago and Santa Monica facilities.

Wild affirms that the RingSide deal brings some new and exciting capabilities to the Detroit marketplace.  “We just made this acquisition and see all kinds of potential for collaboration, but we’re going to learn more and see much more as we go along,” he says.