WPP Continues Buying Spree, GroupM Acquires 49% Stake In Haworth

WPP’s GroupM unit has acquired a 49% stake in Minneapolis-based independent media services agency Haworth Marketing + Media. Terms were not disclosed, but 44-year-old Haworth claims 2013 billings of $700 million and gross assets of $87 million.

The companies said Haworth will continue to operate independently, but will now be “backed by the industry leader in tools and data, thus linking the art of consumer connections with the most advanced marketplace analytics.”

Haworth manages media investment for clients such as Target, Ben & Jerry's, Beats by Dr. Dre, Honeywell, DreamWorks Animation and The Oscars. It is a staff of 140 people split between a Los Angeles office and its Minneapolis headquarters.

WPP said the deal continues its “strategy of investing in important markets such as the United States.” Earlier this week, WPP announced a strategic 15% investment in online ad exchange AppNexus.



“We’ve admired what Gary and his team do for many years,” Irwin Gotlieb, Global Chairman of GroupM, said in a statement referring to Haworth CEO Gary Tobey. “We believe we can add to the compelling Haworth proposition through GroupM’s tools, technology, insights and trading scale.  And in turn, GroupM’s agencies and clients can benefit from Haworth’s proven expertise in integrating brands into popular culture and content.”

“We believe this is a completely new, one-of-a-kind partnership that will bring tremendous value to our clients and our team,” Tobey added, citing: “Our differences and assets will complement each other while Haworth’s culture and what we’ve built remains intact.”
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