EyeWonder Eyes European Conquest As It Absorbs Vendi

Rich media shop EyeWonder has acquired Vendi Interactive, a Germany-based digital ad firm and Web-streaming technology provider. Vendi's co-founder, Ken Gitzen, will stay on as EyeWonder's managing director for Germany. Vendi will now serve its existing clients, including GroupM, under the name EyeWonder.

Along with the purchase, EyeWonder is expanding its European presence, with new offices in London and the blowing-out of its Dublin office. The company has named Barry Bedford as managing director of both offices. Bedford was previously the managing director of EyeWonder's Dublin office.

John Vincent, CEO of EyeWonder, sees Europe as a key factor in the company's growth strategy.

EyeWonder is committed to serving as the technological bridge between key stakeholders in the global interactive digital advertising arena--including publishers, agencies, brands and media buyers--and their online audiences, said Vincent. "Our acquisition of Vendi interactive enables us to fortify that role in Europe."

Over the next 12 months, the European Union's five largest countries--France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK--will experience 25% growth in ad spend, according to eMarketer. By then, European Web users are expected to reach the 136 million mark.

Still, expansion abroad is just one part of EyeWonder's overall growth strategy. Just last week, the shop launched a new service for advertisers to run video and rich media campaigns across major instant-messaging clients. Named InstantWonder, the service synchronizes with AOL's Instant Messenger, MSN's Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ Instant Messenger and MySpace's recently launched MySpaceIM Messenger.