Customer relationship management agency Merkle has acquired digital marketing agency Rimm-Kaufman Group (RKG). The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Investment firm The Jordan Edmiston Group, New York, led the transaction and acted as RKG's financial advisor. The acquisition adds about 220 RKG employees to Merkle's 2,200, including RKG president Adam Audette, co-founder and chief marketing scientist George Michie, and CEO George Gallate.
RKG will continue to support clients as a stand-alone company, for now, but the long-term plan is to build out an integrated platform beginning in 2015, per Michie, who made it clear in the past that the company wasn't looking for a new owner.
"One of the best approaches to finding an acquisition partnership is to not look for one," Michie said. "We just stuck to our netting for many years and they came knocking."
In the past few years, RKG has grown from a search agency into a media agency supporting data-driven campaigns in paid search, search engine optimization, comparison shopping engine services, display ads and social advertising. Their relationship with Google and Bing grew stronger. Company executives also recognized the change in data-driven marketing, which attracted top talent from top advertising agencies like Havas.
Gallate, who joined RKG in 2012 from Havas Worldwide Digital where he served as global chairman, nearly acquired RKG before joining the company as CEO. At the time, Gallate told MediaPost's Agency Daily he became "blown away by the incredible technology and the thought leadership backing RKG."
This is Merkle's second digital agency acquisition in 2014, demonstating a commitment to building out a digital agency. The company generated 43% higher net revenue in 2013, compared with the prior year. Merkle also acquired search agency Impaqt in 2011 and rebranded it as Merkle Impaqt, where revenue was $38 million last year, the agency said.
Merkle and RKG combine to create a media agency with an estimated 2014 billion exceeding $500 million. The group now consists of more than 650 experts in& digital strategy, creative, user experience, Web and mobile development, media, search, email and social.