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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WPP takes majority stake in GroupM and JWT businesses in Russia

wppWPP is to take an 80% majority stake in the WVI Group of companies, the joint venture holding company for a number of WPP brands in Russia, including media investment management businesses Maxus, MEC, MediaCom, Mindshare, GroupM and the global marketing communications company JWT. The deal is subject to regulatory approval. An agreement has also been reached to purchase the remaining 20% stake in 2016.

UK, London & Russia, Moscow

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WPP’s December acquisitions – Crystal Semantics, Vocanic, Social Lab, Fisheye Analytics, Richard Attias & Associates, ARMI, RC&M, ClickMedia and MASSCOM

wppWPP ends the year with nine acquisitions.

1) Mindshare to acquire MASSCOM media agency in Philippines: December 20, 2013

WPP’s wholly owned operating company, Mindshare, a global media agency network, is to acquire the business and assets of Media Arts System and Services Company, Inc. in the Philippines.

MASSCOM was established in 1986 as an independent media agency, serving Unilever exclusively in the Philippines. MASSCOM provides media planning, strategy and buying services to Unilever, the global fast-moving consumer goods company and a top advertiser in the Philippines.

2) GroupM to acquire majority stake in social media marketing agency, ClickMedia in Vietnam: December 19, 2013

WPP’s wholly owned operating company, GroupM, WPP’s global media investment management arm, is to acquire a majority stake in ClickMedia, a social media marketing agency in Vietnam.

Established in 2008, ClickMedia is a full service social media marketing firm which provides social media strategy, campaign strategy and implementation, as well as social media listening, crisis prevention and management.

Clients include Unilever, FrieslandCampina, Piaggio and Estee Lauder. ClickMedia’s unaudited revenues for the year ended 31 December 2012 were VND 23.7 billion with unaudited gross assets at the same date of VND 12.0 billion. The agency employs 55 people.

3) Grey to acquire majority stake in RC&M, a rural communications and marketing services provider in India: December 18, 2013

WPP’s wholly owned operating company, Grey, the advertising network of Grey Group, has agreed to acquire a majority stake in RC&M, one of India’s largest rural communications and marketing services providers.

RC&M is a pioneer in experiential marketing in India, delivering integrated activation solutions, encompassing creative designing to production & implementation. With a formidable reach across 400,000 Indian villages and 5,000 towns, the company is a leader in the organised rural/semi-urban activation market.

Founded in 1990, RC&M is headquartered in Delhi, with offices in Mumbai and Bengaluru.

RC&M’s unaudited revenues for the year ending 31 March 2013 were approximately INR 360 million. The company employs more than 320 people and services clients in the automotive, industrial automation, FMCG and durable sectors.

RC&M marks WPP’s 12th acquisition in India in the last nine years.

4) Millward Brown acquires majority stake in ARMI-Marketing in Russia and Ukraine: December 18, 2013

WPP’s wholly-owned operating company Millward Brown, a global leader in brand, media and communications research, is to acquire a majority stake in ARMI-Marketing in Russia.

Founded in 1992 and headquartered in Moscow, ARMI is a leading provider of market research services in Russia and Ukraine. Clients include leading multinational and local brands, including two-thirds of Russia’s top 15 advertisers.

ARMI’s consolidated unaudited revenues for the year ended 31 December 2012 were approximately RUB 735 million. The company employs around 200 people.

5) WPP takes stake in Richard Attias & Associates: December 17, 2013

WPP has taken a 30% stake in strategic consultants Richard Attias & Associates.

Under the active leadership of founder chairman Richard Attias, RAA has built a reputation for helping governments and corporations articulate their global objectives.

Events led by Attias include the World Economic Forum in Davos and other regions, the Clinton Global Initiative, launch of the Euro in 2000, the 2008 Arab Strategy Forum, the APEC CEO Summit in Hawaii, the 15th African Securities Exchange Association in Marrakech, Doha GOALS Forum, The Middle East Peace Summit in Jordan, the contract for the signature of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in Marrakech, the Monaco Media Forum and the Nobel Laureates Conference. In 2010, Richard Attias founded The New York Forum, an annual meeting to promote economic leadership and in 2012, The New York Forum AFRICA, a pan-African business and investment platform. In 2014, RAA will be producing 14 symposiums.

Commenting on the partnership, WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell said, “By building this partnership with global influencer Richard Attias , WPP confirms its strategy to support countries to brand their nations and corporations to have access to faster growing markets. Our ambition is to create together with Richard a world champion in the field of strategic communication, international conferences and global action oriented events.”

RAA is based in New York, with other offices in Paris, London, Rabat and Dubai. RAA employs 50 people and has revenues of around US$35 million.

Public sector clients of RAA have included the African Development Bank, Bahrain, Brazil, China, Dubai, France, Gabon, Jordan, Morocco, Qatar, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia, UAE, UK, United Nations and the US.

6) Kantar to acquire Fisheye Analytics, a media monitoring and analytics services business in Singapore : December 16, 2013

WPP’s wholly-owned data investment management business Kantar, is to acquire the entire issued share capital of Fisheye Analytics Pte. Ltd., a media monitoring and analytics services business based in Singapore.

Founded in 2009 in Singapore with an R&D centre in Hyderabad, Fisheye employs 14 people. The company, which will become part of Kantar Media, works with some of the biggest sports governing bodies, international organisations and governments from Europe to Asia.

For the year ending 31 October 2013, Fisheye’s unaudited revenues were SGD 782,871, with gross assets as at the same date of SGD 332,162.

7) Ogilvy & Mather to acquire majority stake in social marketing agency, Social Lab in Belgium : December 12, 2013

WPP’s wholly-owned marketing communications network, Ogilvy & Mather, has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Social Lab, a social marketing agency based in Belgium with offices in Paris and Amsterdam.

Founded in 2010 and employing 50 people, Social Lab specialises in social media marketing. Clients include IKEA, Club Med, Interbrew, L’Oréal, Galbani, Electrabel GDF Suez, Nespresso, Oasis, Delhaize and the National Lotery. Social Lab’s unaudited revenues for the year ended 31 December 2012 were EUR 3.1 million with gross assets as at the same date of EUR 0.4million.

8) GroupM to acquire majority stake in Vocanic, a social media marketing business in Asia : December 10, 2013

WPP’s wholly-owned operating company, GroupM, WPP’s global media investment management arm, is to acquire a majority stake in Vocanic Pte Ltd., a social media marketing business in Asia.

Based in Singapore with offices in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, Vocanic is a full service social media marketing firm. Established in 2005, Vocanic has 70 people providing social media strategy consulting, social technology, social media program and campaign management, community management and social media analytics.

For the year ending 31 December 2012, Vocanic’s revenues were SGD 4.3 million, with gross assets of SGD 2.1 million.

Vocanic’s client list includes blue chip business partners such as StarHub, Axis, EDB, SAP, Astro, Unilever, Dell, Symantec, Mead Johnson, Danone, WingTai Retail, MHD, and Standard Chartered Bank.

9) 24/7 Media acquires digital agency Crystal Semantics In the UK: December 9, 2013

WPP Digital’s marketing technology company 24/7 Media, has acquired the entire issued share capital of Crystal Semantics Limited. Crystal Semantics is a provider of semantic advertising solutions.

With its proprietary technology, Crystal Semantics accurately matches advertising to the meaning of a page of web content, greatly reducing the risk of inappropriate advertising placement. With the acquisition, the combined companies will provide distinct advantages to both advertiser and publisher clients through improved advertising relevance and enhanced brand protection. Founded in 2001 and based in London, Crystal Semantics is a major provider of online data services to advertising agencies, networks and exchanges.

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WPP takes stake in early-stage mobile content platform Muzy

wppWPP has taken a stake in Muzy, Inc., an early-stage microblogging service focused on mobile content creation. Muzy has attracted over 20 million users globally and is adding more than 1 million new users each month.

The investment is being made through WPP Ventures, based in Silicon Valley and run by President Tom Bedecarré. He is also Chairman of AKQA. WPP Ventures explores early-stage investments in new technology companies that offer innovative solutions to WPP clients and strengthen the capabilities of WPP.

muzy

Headquartered in San Francisco, Muzy was launched in 2011 by its cofounders, CEO Andrew Chen and CTO Matt Rubens. Like manyweb publishing startups, Muzy currently employs less than 10 people. Muzy will use the investment proceeds to further scale the engineering team and build out the suite of creative publishing tools for the Muzy platform. It offers more than 50 mobile publishing tools and a global network for sharing content and is a Top 100 photo app in 70+ countries.

UK, London & USA, San Francisco

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WPP acquires Sinotrust Market Research in China from Experian

wppWPP‘s wholly-owned operating company TNS, a custom research company, is to acquire Sinotrust Market Research, a  market research and consulting company in China, from Experian. The deal is subject to regulatory approval. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 1992, Sinotrust Market Research employs 350 people and has offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Sinotrust Market Research is the industry market leader in automotive market research in China.experian Its offering includes consumer research, product research, brand research, channel research and customer research analysis.  It has a blue-chip client list that includes leading automobile companies.

Sinotrust Market Research’s unaudited revenues for the year ended 31 March 2013 were RMB 255 million, with gross assets at the same date of RMB 95 million.

UK, London & China, Beijing

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WPP reports better-than-expected full-year 2012 results

Advertising giant WPP has reported better-than-expected full-year 2012 results.wpp

Full preliminary WPP results

Highlights

  • Reported billings decreased slightly to £44.4bn, primarily reflecting the strength of the £ sterling, although up 1.6% in constant currency driven by leadership position in net new business league tables
  • Revenue growth of 3.5%, with like-for-like growth of 2.9%, 2.9% growth from acquisitions and minus 2.3% from currency
  • Like-for-like revenue growth in all but one region, characterised by particularly strong growth in Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East and all but one sector (public relations and public affairs), with strong growth in advertising, media investment management and specialist communications
  • Like-for-like gross margin growth at 2.4%, with slower growth in the Group’s consumer insight businesses in the mature markets of North America, the United Kingdom and Western Continental Europe
  • Headline EBITDA growth of 7.0% giving 0.5 margin point improvement, with operating costs (+2.8%) rising less than revenues
  • Headline PBIT increase of 7.1% with PBIT margin rising by 0.5 points to 14.8%, surpassing the previous historical pro forma high of 14.3% achieved in 2011
  • Exceptional gains of £102 million on sales of stake in Buddy Media and New York property
  • Exceptional restructuring charges of £93 million taken chiefly in respect of Western Continental European businesses and IT infrastructure
  • Gross margin margins, a more accurate competitive comparator, up 0.6 margin points to an industry leading 16.1%
  • Headline diluted EPS up 8.4% and reported diluted EPS down 2.6% (reflecting last year’s exceptional release of corporate tax provisions), with 15% higher final ordinary dividend of 19.71p and full year dividends of 28.51p per share up 15.9%
  • Average net debt increased £373m (13%) to £3.203bn reflecting increased spending on acquisitions (chiefly AKQA) and higher dividends, partly offset by relative improvement in working capital
  • Creative excellence recognised by the award, for the second consecutive year since its inception, of the Cannes Lion for the most creative Holding Company
  • Over last two years alone headline diluted earnings per share up almost 30%, dividends per share up 60% and the dividend pay-out ratio increased from 31% to 39%

UK, London

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