Dentsu attempts digital landgrab with AKQA bid
By Mark Banham, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 17 September 2010 01:00PM
Dentsu is to make an audacious $600m (£383m) for digital specialist AKQA, sources at the network have confirmed.
The Japanese advertising network has been linked with a number of agencies since it announced it was going on an acquisition spree, but this is the clearest indication yet that the company is looking to get a toehold in the UK market.
AKQA was founded in by Ajaz Ahmed in 1995 and has an estimated 800 employees, with offices in London, Amsterdam, New York, Washington D.C. San Francisco and Shanghai. It works for clients including Coca-Cola, Fiat, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Nike and Visa.
The private equity firm General Atlantic took a key stakeholding in the independent agency in 2007, which, at the time, was understood to be worth up to $250m (£160m).
Sources suggest that General Atlantic would welcome a sale, but that the co-founders of the agency, Ahmed, and chief executive Tom Bedecarre, would prefer to take the company down the route of an IPO (initial public offering).
Dentsu already has some European interests, with a stake of more than 11% in France-based Publicis Groupe. It took a shareholding in the network in 2002, when Publicis bought BCom3, in which Dentsu had a 22% stake. BCom3 owned D'Arcy, Leo Burnett, Starcom MediaVest and Bartle Bogle Hegarty.
In July, AKQA took on Matt Bennett and Will Battersby as a creative team.
Bennett and Battersby were formerly at digital and creative agency 20:20, where they created digital campaigns for clients including Virgin 1, COI and Diageo. They also developed campaigns for Burger King, eBay and Vauxhall while at DLKW.
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
- Senior Digital Designer Twist Recruitment £35000 - £42000 per annum + benefits, City of London
- Paid Social Manager Lipton Fleming £32000 - £42000 per annum + excellent benefits, London
- Events Marketing Manager Stopgap £40000 - £50000 per annum, London
- Agency Account Manager/Director (Outdoor) Lipton Fleming £30000.00 - £35000.00 per annum + 25% bonus, London
- Head of Brand Marketing Stopgap £60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits, Surrey
- Sorrell says Publicis / Omnicom's 'merger of equals' is 'impossible'
- Evian baby Spider-Man 'rescues' fans with Twitter answers
- YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
- Pitch update: eBay's media contest, DFS and 2 Sisters Food Group
- McCann wins Qatar Financial Centre brief
- Three's pony and cats with thumbs top the cute Easter ad chart