WPP’s Wunderman acquires majority stake in digital marketing agency Phantasia in Peru  

wppWPP’s wholly-owned operating company Wunderman has acquired a majority stake in Binarix S.A.C. (“Phantasia”), a leading digital marketing agency in Peru. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Phantasia’s gross revenues for 2014 are expected to be S/.22.2 million. Clients include Telefonica, Backus, Banco de Credito, Samsung and Coca-Cola. Phantasia employs 200 people and is based in Lima. The agency, which provides consulting, digital marketing, creative and media buying services to its clients, was founded in 1998. It has been a Wunderman affiliate since 2012.

UK, London & Peru, Lima

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WPP leads US$250 million investment round in George Pyne’s Bruin Sports Capital 

wppWPP is leading a syndicate investing $250 million in Bruin Sports Capital, a global sports marketing firm launched by George Pyne, the former President of IMG Worldwide’s global sports and entertainment business.

Bruin Sports Capital will build its portfolio organically, as well as through acquisitions and investments in established sports marketing businesses, sports federations, leagues and franchises. WPP will have a preferred partnership arrangement with Bruin Sports Capital that will allow its operating companies’ clients access to unique media and sponsorship opportunities in sport.

“WPP’s investment in sports and sports content through Bruin Sports Capital is an important part of its strategy, as it impacts new markets, new media, data investment management and the application of technology and horizontality,” said Sir Martin Sorrell, Founder and CEO of WPP.  “George is a major talent in the sports business world and based on his track record, I’m confident that the clients who work with WPP’s operating companies will be given access to many high-value media and sponsorship opportunities. GroupM, our wholly owned media investment management company, manages over US$100 billion in billings (according to RECMA) and there is growing interest on the part of clients to invest some of that portfolio in content and sport.”

UK, London & USA, New York, NY

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WPP’s POSSIBLE acquires digital agency Swift in the US

wppWPP’s wholly-owned company POSSIBLE, a creative digital agency, has acquired The Swift Collective, Inc. in the United States.

Swift is a digital agency that specializes in creative and strategy, branded content creation and social media.

Swift’s revenues for 2014 will be over US$13 million and its clients include HTC Corporation, Starbucks, Nestle USA and REI. Based in Portland, Oregon, Swift employs over 70 people.

UK, London & USA, Portland, OR

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WPP and ITV invest in digital content studio Indigenous Media

wppWPP is taking a significant minority stake in Indigenous Media along with ITV, the UK’s largest commercial broadcast network.

Indigenous Media LLC is a new digital studio that produces high-quality scripted content and develops channel brands for content distribution, founded by award-winning film makers Jon Avnet, Rodrigo Garcia and Jake Avnet.

itvWPP and ITV will contribute advertising and distribution expertise, allowing Indigenous Media to focus on creating content that will attract brand sponsorships, and global distribution on multiple platforms. Other investors include Advancit Capital and individuals including Steven Tisch, Michael Price and Dr. Aaron Stern. Indigenous Media is based in Los Angeles.

Indigenous Media will focus on producing scripted hour-long and half-hour long series for digital platforms worldwide, as well as developing multi-platform content brands. Director/producers Jon Avnet (Black Swan, Justified, Fried Green Tomatoes, Risky Business), Rodrigo Garcia (Albert Nobbs, In Treatment, Big Love, Last Days in the Desert), and Jake Avnet have won Oscars, Emmys and Tonys for their work. They bring well established relationships with such talents as Julia Stiles, Jennifer Beals, America Ferrera, Jennifer Garner, Anna Paquin, Maggie Grace and Alfred Molina, and writers/directors Marta Kauffman, Betty Thomas, Lesli Linka Glatter, Paul Brickman, and Neil LaBute to the new company.

The Avnets and Garcia have already won critical acclaim for the female-centric WIGS digital content model they founded, which has Fox Broadcasting as its strategic partner. WIGS, which is available on Hulu and FOXNOW, develops high-quality original series, short films, and documentaries, all starring female leads. WIGS has been recognized by The Webbys, Streamy’s, IAWTV, and Writers Guild of America, among others.

UK, London & USA, Los Angeles, CA

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6 new WPP acquisitions

wpp1. Kantar acquires majority stake in data visualisation and interactive specialist Guardian Digital Agency, in the UK

WPP’s wholly-owned data investment management arm, Kantar, has acquired the Guardian Digital Agency (“GDA”), a specialist data visualisation, site design and interactive development agency, previously part of Guardian News and Media Group. The company, which employs 13 people, will be rebranded under the new name Graphic. Many of Kantar’s 12 companies have already worked with GDA.

UK, London

 2. Grey to acquire a majority stake in Circus, Peru’s largest independent advertising agency

WPP’s wholly-owned operating company Grey, is to acquire a majority stake in Circus Peru S.A., the largest independent adverting agency in Peru.

Founded in 2008, Circus is a full-service integrated marketing company. Its subsidiaries include Circus Interactive, Circus Retail, Circus Experience, Brand Lab, a design company, and Carne, a second advertising agency. Circus will be integrated into the existing Grey Peru and be renamed Circus Grey.

Circus’ unaudited revenues were PEN 34 million as of December 31, 2013 with net assets of PEN 9.0 million as of the same date. Clients include Grupo Credito, Grupo Falabella, Claro and San Fernando. Based in Lima, the agency employs nearly 200 people.

Other WPP companies active in Peru (including affiliates) are Young & Rubicam, Ogilvy & Mather, J. Walter Thompson, GroupM, Burson-Marsteller, IBOPE, Kantar Worldpanel, TNS and Geometry Global.

UK, London & Peru, Lima

3. Millward Brown acquires global brand strategy company EffectiveBrands

WPP’s wholly-owned operating company Millward Brown, has acquired EffectiveBrands Holding B.V., a marketing strategy consulting firms.

Founded in 2001 by Marc de Swaan Arons and Frank van den Driest, the company’s unaudited revenues for the year ended 31 March 2014 were approximately EUR 14.1 million with gross assets at the same date of approximately EUR 6.5 million. Clients include Pernod Ricard, Virgin, Barclays, Unilever and PepsiCo. EffectiveBrands is headquartered in Amsterdam with offices in London, New York, Singapore and Tokyo and employs about 65 people.

Millward Brown will combine EffectiveBrands with Millward Brown Optimor, its strategy consulting unit, to form Millward Brown Vermeer. Millward Brown

UK, London & The Netherlands, Amsterdam

4. WT acquires majority stake in creative agency The Hardy Boys in South Africa

WPP’s wholly-owned operating company JWT, has acquired a majority stake in The Hardy Boys, a leading creative agency in South Africa.

Founded in 1994 in Durban, The Hardy Boys is a multi-disciplinary, brand building agency, with fully integrated activation capabilities. Clients include Unilever, Diageo, SA Home Loans, ADvTECH and RCL Foods amongst others.

The Hardy Boys’ revenues for the year ended 28 February 2014 were approximately ZAR 55 million, with gross assets at the same date of approximately ZAR 32.2 million.

UK, London & South Africa, Durban

5. Kantar Media acquires media intelligence business Precise

WPP’s wholly-owned media research and analytics business Kantar Media, has acquired a majority stake in the issued share capital of Precise Media Group Holdings Limited, a provider of monitoring and evaluation services.

Founded in 1996 and based in London, with offices in New York, Precise employs 430 people servicing 2,500 customers including multinational corporations, PR agencies, public sector bodies and SME clients. For the year ending 30 September 2013, Precise’s revenues were £28.9 million, with gross assets as at the same date of £34.4 million.

UK, London & USA, New York, NY

6. XM Asia to acquire majority stake in Sofresh in Vietnam

WPP’s wholly owned operating company, XM Asia, a JWT company, is to acquire a majority stake in Sofresh, a leading digital creative agency in Vietnam.

Sofresh, co-founded in 2007 by Ly Viet Vu and Justin Cohen, develops digital strategy, digital creative ideas and marketing campaigns across multiple digital channels, including social media, mobile and the web. The company also designs and builds e-commerce platforms, customer relationship management systems and in-store digital installations.

Sofresh works with a range of local and global clients, including Diageo, GSK, Kinh Do, Techcombank and Unilever.

Sofresh had revenues of VND 35.7 billion for the year ending December 31, 2013, with gross assets of VND 30.1 billion, as at the same date. The company employs 85 people.

Sofresh marks WPP’s third acquisition in Vietnam in seven months. In Vietnam, WPP companies (including associates) generate revenues of about $80 million and employ approximately 1,000 people.

UK, London & Vietnam

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Grey to acquire advertising and communications company The Volcano Group in South Africa

wppWPP’s wholly-owned operating company Grey, the global marketing communications agency, has agreed to acquire a majority stake in The Volcano Group, a leading South African advertising and communications company. Following acquisition, The Volcano Group will rebrand as Grey Africa.

Founded in 1994 in Johannesburg, Volcano provides integrated marketing services covering traditional and digital advertising, PR, insight and social. Clients include Procter & Gamble, First National Bank, Sony and Consol Glass.

Volcano’s unaudited consolidated revenues for the year ended 31 May 2013 were approximately ZAR 61 million, with gross assets at the same date of approximately ZAR 26 million.

UK, London & South Africa, Johannesburg

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WPP acquires majority stake in Cerebra Communications in South Africa

wppWPP has acquired a majority stake in Cerebra Communications, an integrated strategic communication agency based in Johannesburg. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2006 and employing 35 people, Cerebra builds, engages and activates brand communities for clients including Nedbank and Vodacom. Cerebra’s services include community management, crisis management, social business strategy and creative communication campaigns. Cerebra will retain its independent positioning and will work closely with other WPP companies in South Africa and across Africa.

Audited revenues for the year ended February 2013 were approximately ZAR 17 million, with gross assets at the same date of approximately ZAR 4.1 million.

UK, London & South Africa, Johannesburg

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JWT to acquire majority stake in Post Visual in South Korea

wppWPP‘s wholly owned operating company, JWT, has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Post Visual, a highly awarded digital agency in South Korea. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Headquartered in Seoul, Post Visual is considered also to be a top creative agency in South Korea, with major clients including Nike, Google, and eBay. Post Visual was the first agency in South Korea to win a Gold Cyber Lion at Cannes and has won Gold awards at other global festivals.

As at year ending December 2012, Post Visual had unaudited revenues of KRW 4.8 billion and gross assets of KRW 3.4 billion as at the same date. Founded in 2000, Post Visual employs more than 60 people.

UK, London & South Korea, Seoul

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betaworks acquires a majority stake in Instapaper

betaworksbetaworks has acquired a majority stake in Instapaper. The acquisition was announced by Instapaper founder and developer Marco Arment. Marco posted details of the acquisition on his blog. Instapaper is a simple tool to save web pages for reading later. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.instapaper

“I’m happy to announce that I’ve sold a majority stake in Instapaper to Betaworks. We’ve structured the deal with Instapaper’s health and longevity as the top priority, with incentives to keep it going well into the future. I will continue advising the project indefinitely, while Betaworks will take over its operations, expand its staff, and develop it further.”

Other Betaworks products include digg, bit.ly, Chartbeat, Giphy and tapestry.  Wall Street Journal reported that Digg was acquired for around $500,000 last year.

USA, New York, NY

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