Wunderman acquires Amazon-focused content and campaign agency 2Sales

WundermanWPP‘s wholly owned global digital agency Wunderman, has acquired 2Sales International S.A., an ecommerce consulting agency.

2Sales supports global brands in building their business on Amazon, and will become part of Wunderman’s global commerce offering, Wunderman Commerce. 

2Sales employs 66 people in Luxembourg and is a one-stop Amazon solution that utilises automated processes to optimise content generation, sales and promotions across eight international Amazon platforms. Clients include Acco, Columbia, Fiskars and SC Johnson.

UK, London & USA, New York, NY & Luxembourg

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St Ives plc acquires Branded3 Search

St Ives plcst ives has acquired Branded3 Search Ltd, a search engine optimisation and digital marketing agency.

Established in 2003, Branded3 employs approximately 50 staff, with offices in central London and Leeds. It has a strong B2C and B2B client base across a range of vertical sectors that includes entertainment, finance, travel and other sectors.

In the financial year ended 31 January 2013, Branded3 generated adjusted EBITDA of £1.7 million on revenue of £4.1million; gross branded3assets were £3.0million.

St Ives is paying £10.7million, £8.6 million in cash and approximately 1.4 million of newly issued St Ives shares. Further consideration of up to £14.3 million may be payable (to be
satisfied approximately 75% in cash and 25% in shares) dependent on incremental financial performance for the years ending 31 January 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Branded3 will operate as a subsidiary of St Ives and will continue to be managed from its current locations by its existing management team, which includes Vin Chinnaraja and Patrick Altoft, the vendors and co-founders of the business.

Patrick Martell, Chief Executive of St Ives, said, “With the acquisition of Branded3 we are adding significant depth to our digital offering and further enhancing the range of marketing services we can provide for our existing and prospective clients. Our combination of insight led innovation and trusted execution across digital and physical media creates
a unique integrated offering in the market, which this acquisition complements well. I am delighted to welcome the Branded3 team to the Group and look forward
to supporting their growth plans.”

UK, London

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WPP announces results for the year ended 31 December 2012

wppWPP has today posted its annual report and accounts for the year ended 31 December 2012.

A copy is available to view on WPP’s website www.wpp.com.

  • Read the letter to shareholders here
  • Full financial statements are available here


  • Reported billings were down slightly at £44.4 billion, but up 1% in constant currencies.
  • Revenues were up 3.5% to £10.4 billion and up almost 6% in constant currencies. Including 100% of associates, revenue is estimated to total 2.6 billion ($20.0 billion).
  • Headline PBIT was up over 7% to £1.531 billion against £1.429 billion in 2011 and up over 11% in constant currencies.
  • Headline PBIT margin was 14.8% in 2012 against 14.3% in 2011 (surpassing the historical pro forma high of 14.3% in 2008) On gross margin, the headline PBIT margin was 16.1%, up 0.6 margin points on 2011.
  • Reported profit before interest and tax rose over 4% to £1.311 billion from £1.258 billion. Headline EBITDA increased by 7% to £1.756 billion.
  • Headline profit before tax was up over 7% to £1.317 billion and reported profit before tax was up over 8% to £1.092 billion.
  • The share price is up by 31% in 2012 to 888.0p at year end. (2013, 16% since 1st January).
  • Dividends increased by almost 16% to 28.51p (a record level).
  • Diluted headline earnings per share were up over 8% to 73.4p (an all-time high) and diluted reported earnings per share decreased by over 2% to 62.8p, reflecting the release of prior year tax provisions in 2011.
  • Free cash flow strengthened to £1.094 billion in the year, over £1 billion for the second consecutive year.
  • Net debt averaged £3.2 billion in 2012, up £0.4 billion at 2012 exchange rates, and net debt at 31 December 2012 was £2.8 billion, £0.3 billion higher than 2011, reflecting increased spending on acquisitions (chiefly AKQA) and higher dividends.
  • Average net debt, was around 1.8 times headline EBITDA in 2012 compared with 1.7 times in 2011, and well within the Group’s current target range of 1.5-2.0 times.
  • In September 2012, the Group successfully issued $500 million of 10-year bonds at a coupon of 3.625%, together with $300 million of 30-year bonds at 5.125%.
  • So far, in the first three months of 2013, average net debt was up approximately £0.3 billion at £3.0 billion against £2.7 billion for the same period in 2012, at 2013 exchange rates.
  • With a current equity market capitalisation of approximately £13.0 billion, the total enterprise value of WPP is approximately £16.3 billion, a multiple of 9.1 times 2012 headline EBITDA.

UK London

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Publicis unveils €3 billion acquisition plan

PublicisAccording to reporting by Campaign, Publicis Groupe unveiled a six-year growth plan at an event for investors at LBi London’s offices on Tuesday. Jean-Michel Etienne, the chief financial officer of Publicis Groupe, said that “the envelope [for acquisitions] will be €500 million each year.” LBi is a digital communications agency acquired by Publicis last year valuing LBi at approximately €416 million.

Deals are likely to focus on digital technology businesses in markets including Brazil, Russia, China, Turkey and India as well as countries in South East Asia.

Publicis has been highly acquisitive over the last few years. See related articles below.

France, Paris & UK, London

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WPP acquires john st. a creative agency in Canada

wppWPP has acquired john st., one of Canada’s top creative agencies.

Founded in 2001 and based in Toronto, john st. employs approximately 100 people and has unaudited revenues for the year ended 31 December 2012 of approximately $14.0 million, with gross assets at the same date of $5.5 million. Clients include AstraZeneca, Kruger, ING Direct, Maple Leaf Foods and Tata.

Over the last 12 years, john st. has built an international reputation as one of Canada’s leading innovative johnstcreative agencies. It was recently named Silver Agency of the Year as well as Silver Digital Agency of the Year by Strategy, a leading Canadian marketing publication.

The acquisition of john st. strengthens WPP’s presence in Canada. “We see enormous value in being part of WPP,” says Arthur Fleischmann President of john st. “We’ll now be able to augment our current services in areas that clients are asking for, such as media, direct and public relations.”

UK, London & Canada, Toronto

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Ogilvy & Mather acquires majority stake in South African mobile marketing agency Strike Media

ogilvyWPP‘s wholly owned subsidiary Ogilvy & Mather has acquired a majority stake in Strike Media Proprietary Limited in South Africa.

Strike is a mobile marketing and technology agency delivering customised mobile strategy, campaigns,design and development services to clients across the financial, retail, consumer and telecommunications sectors.

Established in 2003 by Russel Stromin, Strike is headquartered in Cape Town and employs 20 people. Key clients and partners include Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and Metropolitan Health.

Strike’s revenues for the financial year ended 29 February 2012 were approximately ZAR 16 million with gross assets as at the same date of approximately ZAR16 million.

UK, London & South Africa, Cape Town

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Y&R acquires majority stake in Turkish creative digital agency C-Section

y&rWPP‘s wholly-owned operating company, Y&R, has acquired a majority stake in CS Reklam Hizmetleri Sanayi Ve Ticaret A.Ş., trading as “C-Section“, a creative digital advertising agency based in Istanbul, Turkey.

Founded in 2004, C-Section specialises in creating microsites, apps, digital campaigns and video csection-logo2production/virals for the Turkish market. The agency employs approximately 40 people and clients include Coca-Cola, Vodafone, and TEB BNP Paribas.

C-Section’s unaudited revenues for the year ended 31 December 2012 were TRY 7.5million, with gross assets as at the same date of TRY 3.0million. The agency will retain its distinct independent identity and will not be merged with Y&R Istanbul.

UK, London & Turkey, Istanbul

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TBWA acquires Indian digital company Magnon

tbwaTBWA has acquired Magnon Group, one of India’s largest digital agencies. The acquisition includes Magnon Solutions, the domestic digital agency, and Magnon International, a digital outsourcing agency that serves clients across five continents.

Founded in 2000 by Vineet Bajpai , Magnon employs nearly 150 professionals between Mumbai and New Delhi.magnon

Magnon offers clients the full spectrum of digital services, including graphic design for web and mobile; digital marketing; search and social media optimization; bespoke technology applications development; online brand strategy consulting; eCommerce solutions; and mobile sites and apps development.

Effective immediately, Magnon will become part of the TBWA Group of companies in India. The digital agency, Magnon Solutions, will join TBWA’s global Digital Arts Network (DAN) and the digital outsourcing company, Magnon International, will become part of E-Graphics and an accelerator for DAN’s production offering.

“We are delighted to join forces with Magnon Group,” said Keith Smith , President – International at TBWA Worldwide. “We’ve been extremely impressed with both their digital capabilities and the strength of their management team. Globally, TBWA is building a strong, integrated digital network and we’re confident that Magnon Group will deliver the expertise and talent we need to deliver innovative work and added value for our clients in India.”

Bajpai, who will continue in his role as Founder and CEO of Magnon, said, “Being a part of TBWA is an ambition fulfilled. TBWA’s global reach and excellence will provide Magnon with the right platform towards becoming a market-leading digital agency in India and the region. And TBWA’s empowering culture allows us to retain our adaptability and entrepreneurial fabric.”

TBWA is part of Omnicom Group Inc.

USA, New York, NY & India, Mumbai

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Aegis Media acquires Lucidity Digital in Ireland

AegisAegis Group plc, the media and digital communications group, has acquired Lucidity Digital, a web design and development agency in Ireland.

Founded in 2003, Lucidity is one of the fastest growing agencies in the Irish market, providing a wide range of creative and production lucidity2solutions for both web and mobile. The acquisition of Lucidity will allow Aegis Media clients access to a full suite of digital creative and production services and will further strengthen the Aegis Media Digital position in the Irish market. Lucidity will become part of Aegis’s digital creative origination network, Isobar, and will be re-branded Lucidity Isobar in Ireland.

Liam McDonnell, CEO of Aegis Media Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be acquiring Lucidity, which will enhance the prospects of our business in the Irish market, allowing us to offer greater integration across digital media and creative. We welcome the Lucidity team into the fold and look forward to working with our new colleagues to leverage the exciting opportunities this acquisition will bring to our business in Ireland.”

UK, London & Ireland, Dublin

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Publicis Groupe acquires UK digital agency Outside Line

PublicisPublicis Groupe has acquired British digital agency Outside Line, a specialist in social and experiential media. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2000 and based in London, Outside Line has become one of the top 5 independent social agencies in the UK according to New Media Age (Top 100 agencies report). The skill-set of the agency’s 68-strong team ranges from digital design and development to content creation, customer relations management and experience-driven social media marketing. Outside Line’s client list includes Andy Murray , Arla Foods (Cravendale and Lurpak), British Gas, Queen and Virgin Galactic, and its award-winning campaigns include “Music Inspired” for Beck’s, “Newsroom Blog” for British Gas, “Milk Matters” for Cravendale, and “Food Beats” for Lurpak.

Outside Line will be integrated into the Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide network, working alongside the Saatchi & Saatchi London office and further improving the agency’s ability to deliver highly creative and effective multi-channel digital output at a faster, more efficient and cost-effective rate. Ant Cauchi and Lloyd Salmons , in addition to their current roles as Outside Line’s co-founders, will take senior roles as digital directors at Saatchi & Saatchi London , and will be responsible for integrating existing business and growing digital revenue. They will work closely with Saatchi & Saatchi’s creative partners Kate Stanners and Paul Silburn , director of strategy Richard Huntington , as well as the director of integration Matt Groves , while reporting to Saatchi & Saatchi London’s CEO Magnus Djaba .

“Outside Line is a perfect cultural fit for Saatchi & Saatchi,” said Magnus Djaba, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi London . “Both our agencies share an exciting vision. We’re driven to create interactive social currency that is world-class, both online and offline – work that people share online, tweet about, and talk about in pubs, playgrounds and by the coffee machine. We’re thrilled to be able to seize this opportunity to strengthen our digital core and further boost our service to clients in this crucial sector.”

France, Paris & UK, London

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