Essence Finds Some In Bay Area, U.K. Agency Acquires San Francisco's Black Bag

by , Sep 17, 2012, 8:59 AM
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U.K.-based digital media shop Essence Digital is expanding its footprint in the U.S. marketplace, announcing a deal this morning to acquire San Francisco-based Black Bag Advertising, which will give it a major presence in the critical Bay Area community.

Terms were not disclosed, but Black Bag will be re-branded as Essence San Francisco, and its 30-person organization will boost Essence’s U.S. workforce to about 80, with the balance working out of Essence’s East Coast operations in New York’s Flatiron District. The deal brings Essence’s global workforce up to 215 people.

More important than size, Essence Digital Founding Partner Andrew Shebbeare says the deal was based on Black Bag’s cultural fit with Essence. 

“It’s uncanny,” he said, “It’s really like being [at] Essence,” Shebbeare said of his meetings with the Black Bag team.

Aside from the cultural synergy, he said Black Bag gives Essence feet on the street in a crucial market for the agency, whose major clients include Google, eBay and Expedia, and that the deal is mostly complementary, not a diversification play.

He said Essence does plan on making additional acquisitions to diversify its services in North America later this year.

Both Essence and Black Bag count technology and analytics as their core areas of expertise,

Black Bag was founded in 2004 by Eric Yang to provide media strategy, planning and buying, campaign management and analysis to clients in the automotive, banking, insurance, retail, and consumer packaged goods industries.

Black Bag Advertising is an analytics and results driven media agency co-founded in 2004 by Eric Yang to provide media strategy, planning and buying, campaign management and analysis to clients in the automotive, banking, insurance, retail, and consumer packaged goods industries. Its clients include VSP, Art.com, Sungevity, Wantful.com and Kapitall.

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