Meredith Takes Stake in Iris, Unveils MXM

Meredith Corp. is continuing its strategic move into the agency business with yet another investment, this time taking a stake in Iris Worldwide, an international marketing agency based in London.

The company touted Iris Worldwide’s strengths in advertising, digital, print, public relations, CRM, and retail and experiential marketing, which will complement the capabilities of Meredith’s other agency acquisitions.

With around 800 employees in offices located worldwide, Iris Worldwide has served major clients including Shell, Microsoft, Sony Ericsson, Unilever, Adidas, IHG, Heineken, Volkswagen and Philips. Some of its high-profile work includes the creation and promotion of the official mascots for the London 2012 Olympics.

Meredith did not disclose the size of its stake in Iris, which is privately held, merely stating that the investment should not have a material effect on its financial performance in fiscal 2012.

Simultaneously, Meredith also unveiled a new “brand identity” for Meredith Integrated Marketing, the relatively new division bringing together its recent agency acquisitions. According to the company, the new name, Meredith Xcelerated Marketing, “reflects MXM’s ability to create content-fueled, high-velocity marketing programs using a data-driven strategic process that significantly builds customer value and loyalty across multiple channels.”



As noted, Meredith has embarked on something of an agency shopping spree over the last couple of years. Over the last half-decade, Meredith has acquired O'Grady Meyers, which handles customer-relationship marketing and Web site development, in April 2006; Genex, an interactive marketing services firm specializing in online customer relationship marketing, in January 2007; New Media Strategies, a social-media marketer, also in January 2007; Directive, which specializes in database and analytics, in October 2007; Big Communications, specializing in health-care marketing, in June 2008; and The Hyperfactory, a mobile marketing agency, in July 2010. (Meredith owned a partial stake in The Hyperfactory before that).

The companies that make up MXM now have a combined total of over 700 employees, and work with over 50 brands, including Lowe’s, Kraft and Chrysler.

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