Digital set for buying spree

Mark Cridge is one of digital marketing's pioneers and no-one would begrudge him the £4 million he could make by selling the agency he set up to Aegis (page 1).

While his decision to sell may come as a surprise to some, the fact is most of the digital independents are at least talking to the increasing number of companies in the market for a significant UK digital acquisition. Both Omnicom and WPP have identified digital marketing as a significant growth area, and Isobar itself makes no secret of the fact that it is keen to continue its expansion.

So who are the next likely UK targets? The top two independent specialist digital media agencies, i-Level and Unique, would be attractive to any network; AKQA, Grand Union and Greenroom must also look very appealing to buyers.

Not all the independents will end up selling - and not all have balance sheets that will stand up to scrutiny. But over the next 18 months, it looks as if the ranks of the digital independents, who have until now dominated the marketplace, will end up significantly depleted.