Buffalo Groupe makes first acquisition since spin-off

By Jack Crittenden

Six months after Billy Casper Golf spun off its public relations division into a separate company, the new company, Buffalo Groupe, has acquired another communications firm —  Rawle Murdy in Charleston, S.C.

It’s the latest chapter in a long-term growth plan for the 18-year-old public relations company that can trace its roots back even longer.  

Rich Katz, who is credited with founding the company, started in marketing and public relations with Billy Casper Golf in 1992. At the time, the golf management company was less than five years old.

Katz spun BCG’s in-house public relations and marketing department into its own division in 2001, renaming it Buffalo Communications, and it began representing external clients. By 2015, Buffalo Communications had 30 employees and represented dozens of major-brand golf product manufacturers. That year, it renamed itself Buffalo Brand Invigoration Group, in an effort to appeal to clients outside of the golf industry. That led to further growth, with the company reaching 55 employees by the end of 2018, and representing clients such as Topgolf/Toptracer, Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, the U.S. Golf Association, and World Golf Foundation.

Then in January, BCG set Buffalo up as its own company and renamed it Buffalo Groupe. It hired John Watson as executive chairman. Watson was previously president and CEO of Edwin Watts Golf Company from 2008 to 2014. The company announced at that time that it was recapitalized with outside investment that would be used to accelerate expansion plans.

Watson was hired to guide all aspects of Buffalo Groupe, including strategy, fundraising, organizational development, governance and shareholder value. Watson hired Kyle Ragsdale as CEO. Rasgdale was previously Vox Media’s top revenue and marketing officer. Katz remains a principal of the company and a board member, and BCG retains a majority stake in Buffalo Groupe. 

Rawle Murdy, which has a staff of 27, will operate as a separate division of Buffalo Groupe, representing real estate, travel and hospitality and home services brands.

The company’s other division, which used to be Buffalo Communications, is now known as Buffalo.Agency, and represents golf, sport and lifestyle brands.

In April, Buffalo Groupe announced the hiring of three senior vice presidents: Teresa Olsen, Lauren Nodzak and Emily Clark. Olsen is head of strategy for Buffalo Groupe and comes from Hallmark Cards. Nodzak is head of client strategy and service and previously worked at Pernod Ricard USA, a premium spirits and wine company. Clark, who was previously vice president of sales and marketing for BCG, is head of people and culture.

The company also launched Buffalo Studios, led by Chief Creative Officer Derek Koenig.

Add new comment

If you enjoyed this article and would like to sign up for a FREE digital subscription, click here!