Core Strength: Aegis Acquires TigerSpike Stake


Aegis Group is on a buying spree.

For the third time this month, it has confirmed buying or investing in an agency in a bid to strengthen its core media services operations.

The spree comes as the London-based holding company is in the midst of negotiations to sell off its media and marketing research arm Synovate to Ipsos. An Aegis rep confirmed Monday that those talks are continuing.

The latest investment: a minority stake in mobile technology firm TigerSpike, which was founded in Sydney, Australia in 2003 and has since expanded to New York and London.

Aegis said it paid $11 million for the minority stake, but did not disclose its size or what options it might have per the agreement to increase its ownership position.

The company owns a proprietary cloud-based delivery platform known as Phoenix, which enables clients to rapidly deploy content and services across a growing range of consumer mobile devices such as phones, tablets and e-readers, Aegis said. With the agreement, TigerSpike's platform will be available to Aegis clients.



TigerSpike founder and CEO Luke Janssen stated that the tie to Aegis would enable the company to "remain at the forefront of the growth opportunities in our market." According to his bio on the TigerSpike site, Janssen is a competitive yachtsman as well as the "2009 world whistling champion."

A rep said the company would have no further comment on the investment beyond what it stated in a release issued Monday. Aegis CEO Jerry Buhlmann stated that the investment in the mobile tech firm would "support us in offering clients truly convergent solutions."

The two companies have at least one client in common -- Diageo, which TigerSpike lists as a customer along with Pepsi, The Economist and AutoTrader, among others. Aegis' Carat won Diageo's $130 million U.S. media planning and buying assignment last fall.

TigerSpike marks the third consecutive investment in a new company in as many weeks for Aegis. Last week, it acquired control of MediaVest Manchester, the UK's largest independent media shop. Earlier in the month, it struck a deal to buy the Japanese digital shop FileFix.

There has been some speculation that once it sheds Synovate, Aegis itself might go into play.

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