Mountaingate Capital Platform Elite SEM Acquires Amazon Specialist Agency CPC Strategy

September 2018


Denver – September 10, 2018 – Award-winning digital marketing agency Elite SEM announced that it recently acquired CPC Strategy, the San Diego based agency known for its expertise in retail, ecommerce, and specifically the Amazon channel, where it expects to derive more than half of its revenue in 2018. The combination with CPC Strategy adds critical scale to Elite’s rapidly growing Amazon practice, bolsters the depth of its expertise in search and social, and also delivers a powerful technology asset in CPC’s proprietary CAPx media and bid optimization platform. The transaction marks Elite SEM’s third acquisition since partnering with Mountaingate Capital in 2017.

CPC Strategy, with a team of over 125 employees, works with both brands and sellers and provides services including strategy and advisory, media planning and placement, creative and content services, and data and analytics. Clients include Pfizer, Reef, Guthy Renker, The Honest Company, Hallmark, Nestle, Comvita, Riddell, Unilever’s Seventh Generation, and Nutrisystem, as well as many Amazon-only sellers.

“The acquisition of CPC Strategy is our response to the escalating demand from Elite’s most successful clients for strategy and execution in the Amazon marketplace, including its media offerings, creative services, and analytics, and the integration of Amazon with other performance media channels. More than a year ago we set out on a mission to find a solution at scale to meet this demand, and no alternative came close to CPC Strategy,” said Zach Morrison, President, Elite SEM. “We’re thrilled to welcome an outstanding team of true digital media thought leaders to the Elite partnership.”

The combined entity will have approximately 500 performance media specialists, integrated media strategists, and data scientists. Both companies have a deep commitment to creating the best possible work environment, based on meritocracy, resulting in superior client service and retention. The acquisition follows Elite SEM’s ‘Experts Only’ operating model, which maintains and develops specialization around each practice area while bringing a holistic approach to clients through Integrated Media Strategy and Marketing Science.

“For our clients and for our dedicated team members, the benefits of joining forces with one of the most respected and successful agencies in our space were very convincing. We are aligned strategically and extremely motivated to continue to build innovative solutions that drive improved client results through digital media with our new partners at Elite and also Mountaingate Capital,” said Rick Backus, CEO of CPC Strategy. “Together we have one of the strongest, most experienced, and most tenured management benches in the performance marketing industry and have never been more bullish on our future.”

“This transaction brings together two outstanding management teams and is an ideal match on culture and strategy, as both companies have a distinguished history of leveraging technology and human capital in the digital media marketplace. We are excited to see the benefits of joining forces accrue to all of our stakeholders, most importantly our clients and our employees,” commented Mountaingate Managing Director Colton King.

The acquisition includes CPC Strategy’s proprietary Amazon media and bid optimization platform, CAPx, which provides a substantial competitive advantage through both efficiency and efficacy gains, resulting in superior service and performance gains for their clients. While Elite SEM will continue to work with industry partners and third-party technology, this proprietary solution enables strategy and service teams to address market gaps and provide the best platform recommendation for clients.

Elite SEM is an award-winning digital marketing agency founded on Search and focused on holistic performance-driven digital marketing. Through organic growth and acquisitions of OrionCKB, Email Aptitude, and now CPC Strategy, Elite’s expertise spans Paid Search, SEO, Shopping & Feed, Paid Social, Display Advertising, Amazon & Marketplaces, Affiliate Marketing, Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), CRM, Email Marketing, and Creative Services – collectively supported by Integrated Media Strategy and Analytics/Marketing Science teams. From discovery through acquisition, retention, reactivation and loyalty, Elite’s services span all stages of an integrated marketing strategy and through the entire customer journey allowing leading industry brands to effectively and strategically evaluate digital marketing spend and increase cross-channel performance. Clients include: Bombas, Timex, the San Antonio Spurs, U.S. Polo Assn., Adore Me, Tourneau, Tatcha, Francesca’s, Einstein Bagels, Tommy Bahama, Melissa & Doug, Hugo Boss, Theory, Aaptiv, Zipcar and Terminix.

Elite SEM has won several prestigious industry awards and accolades for both their culture and performance. Elite’s commitment to people and performance has cemented their position as one of the top digital marketing agencies in North America. For more information, visit

Mountaingate Capital is a private equity firm based in Denver that specializes in building and empowering lower middle market companies with strong growth potential and engaged leadership teams. The firm was launched by a team of partners with deep investment expertise in four distinct market sectors: marketing services, business/industrial services, specialty distribution and specialty manufacturing, including medical devices. Mountaingate’s focus on organic growth coupled with its proven customer-centric buy-and-build approach for add-on acquisitions and shared equity ownership with management creates more value for the end customer, while forging stronger, more collaborative, and more successful investment partnerships with management teams. In 2017, Mountaingate announced the close of its first fund with $395 million in capital commitments. Mountaingate targets investments in new platform companies typically with $5 million to $25 million of EBITDA. For more information on Mountaingate, please visit

For more information please contact:

Colton King, Managing Director
Phone: 303.390.5001