WPP Catches Rockfish
In a deal reached Thursday night, independent digital agency Rockfish has decided to join WPP.
"The decision to join WPP's family of agencies came after a very thorough and thoughtful evaluation of many options, including remaining independent," Kenny Tomlin, Rockfish founder and CEO, explained in a blog post on Friday.
"What I thought would be a difficult decision was actually very easy as I learned more about WPP, their enthusiasm for Rockfish and most importantly their commitment to our future," Tomlin added. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
As part of the agreement, Tomlin said he will remain as CEO of the shop, "and there will be no staff changes related to the acquisition." On the contrary, Tomlin said he expected the deal to accelerate growth, which would likely include expanding the agency's staff.
Rogers, AR-based Rockfish has recently earned accolades for its interactive work, Including being named OMMA magazine's Web design and development agency of the year for 2010.
Clients include Walmart, Sam's Club, Cisco, Procter & Gamble, Tyson Foods, and others.
Pursuing a slightly different expansion path, Rockfish recently debuted a new venture capital division focusing on nurturing new enterprises developing digital technology in consumer Internet, mobile and retail sectors. Named Rockfish Brand Ventures, the unit was conceived to provide start-ups with capital funding, as well as technology and marketing support.
Meanwhile, not long after its launch, Rockfish Brand Ventures took a stake in Tap.Me -- creators of a mobile ad platform, which integrates branding and ads into games. Announced in May, Rockfish did not disclose the terms of the investment, but said it was joined by existing Tap-Me investors, including Bullet Time Ventures, the i2A Fund and Hyde Park Angels.
WPP Group, the world's biggest buyer of media, recently reported a 6.2% gain in its revenues for the first four months of 2010, which it attributed to improvements in the U.S.
No stranger to acquisitions, WPP only recently picked up a majority stake in F.biz Ltda -- the largest independent digital shop in Brazil - in an effort to increase its digital agency footprint in South America.