WPP Acquires Digital Pioneer AKQA

SorrellWPP has agreed to acquire AKQA, considered a pioneer in the digital agency space and one of the last big independent digital agencies. The holding company said Wednesday that the deal was subject to regulatory approval.

The Dublin-based holding company also announced the start-up of a new Silicon Valley-based firm, WPP Ventures, which will explore new digital investment opportunities.

AKQA chairman Tom Bedecarré will lead the new start-up, WPP confirmed. Bedecarré will remain in his AKQA role as well. The agency will continue to operate as a stand-alone entity under WPP, led by Bedecarré and agency founder and CEO Ajaz Ahmed, the holding company said.

The shop, whose work has been recognized with 19 agency of the year awards and numerous other accolades, was founded in 2001. It provides an array of digital services, including social media, mobile, interactive experiences, gaming and content creation.



Commenting on the deal Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP stated that the holding company has “admired [the agency’s] creativity and technological skills for a long time, along with their outstandingly effective and award-winning work for clients.”

Clients include Delta, Diageo, EDF, GAP, Google, Microsoft Xbox, Nike, Target, Unilever and Virgin Money, among others.

Terms weren’t disclosed, but WPP said the agency had gross assets of $282 million at the end of last year with revenues of $189 million. Revenues at the agency are expected to grow nearly 22% this year to $230 million.

The shop employs 1,160 worldwide with offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

“With increased resources and access to new geographies, our partnership with WPP will fuel the next level of … opportunity, delivering innovation and creativity at scale,” AKQA founder Ahmed stated.

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