TBWA Acquires Germany's Heimat

Omnicom's TBWA Worldwide is acquiring independent German advertising agency Heimat. TBWA will take a majority share in Heimat, headed by founding partners Matthias von Bechtolsheim, Guido Heffels and Andreas Mengele.

Heimat CEO von Bechtolsheim will act as chairman of the newly formed TBWA Operating Group Germany, which combines the leaders of TBWA's German specialist agencies. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

According to ZenithOptimedia, Germany is forecast to remain on a modest advertising growth track, adding about $1 billion in ad expenditures between 2013 and 2016 to more than $24 billion (a gain of about 4%) and remaining the fourth-ranked ad market in the world.

With the acquisition, TBWA Group Germany offers Heimat's abilities, as well as the fully integrated advertising services of brand activation specialist, DO IT!, business-to-business communications, RTS Rieger Team, business strategy company The Disruption Consultancy, TBWA Worldhealth and shopper marketing partner The Integer Group.

Heimat's founders will retain a minority share in the company and will remain in their leadership roles. The agency -- with over 230 employees in Berlin and Hamburg -- will keep its original name. 

In an advertising market dominated by strong independent agencies, this new partnership allows TBWA to offer all benefits of independent agencies in a scalable and efficient global network. Founded in 1999, Heimat is a market leader in Germany for its creative and strategic product, as well as its long-term relationships with national and international brands. 

"Heimat and TBWA are a natural match and create a unique offer for the fourth largest advertising market worldwide," says Perry Valkenburg, President Europe and International COO, TBWA. "Combining Heimat's creative and entrepreneurial spirit with TBWA's global strength is the perfect offer for the German market."

Last year, Heimat grew 40% in revenue over the previous year with clients that include Hornbach, Adidas, CNN, Swisscom, Rewe, Otto, German cooperative bank Volksbanken Raiffeisenbanken and Weight Watchers.

"We have had conversations with many international groups, but the partnership with Omnicom and TBWA is based on a mutual respect for entrepreneurship and creativity between ourselves and the managers we collaborated with on this deal," said von Bechtolsheim.  

For Omnicom, it’s the first confirmed acquisition by the holding company or one of its agencies since the collapse of the planned merger with Publicis Groupe earlier this month. It’s the fourth acquisition of the year for the group and the second for TBWA, which acquired Brazilian ad shop Mood in March.

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