London-based Aegis Group today confirmed it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Beijing Catch Stone Advertising, the big digital media and marketing services company based in the Chinese
Aegis said it would pay an initial $86 million for control of the agency, but that the final price could be nearly triple that -- $236 million -- if the shop achieves certain performance levels over the next four years.
The acquisition comes just a little more than a week after Aegis itself agreed to be acquired by Japanese holding company Dentsu for nearly $5 billion. That deal is subject to Aegis shareholder and regulatory approval. However, the parties expect that acquisition to close in the fourth quarter barring any unforeseen delays.
Aegis CEO Jerry Buhlmann indicated last week that Aegis, which would remain a stand-alone operation after Dentsu completes the purchase, would continue its own strategy of so-called “bolt-on acquisitions” particularly to bolster its digital portfolio and add strength in the global ad economy’s top-20 markets.
The Catch Stone deal is the first Aegis acquisition after agreeing to be bought by Dentsu on July 12.
Catch Stone had pre-tax profits of nearly $13 million in 2011 with gross assets of about $60 million, per Aegis. The shop’s capabilities include digital media planning and buying, as well as a range of digital marketing services in areas such as creative and social media.
The agency does business across China and is known for its expertise in the automotive and financial services sectors, per Aegis. It has a mix of multinational and local clients in those categories, including Audi, Nissan, Saic GM Wuling (SGMW), Industrial Bank and Inoherb.
Catch Stone was formed in 2002 and now employs over 130 people in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.