As expected, WPP is acquiring a majority stake in global agency Essence Digital, which the holding company said was the world's largest independent buyer of digital media, handling over $700 million worth of buys annually.
The Wall Street Journal broke the news that the deal was happening earlier in the week. Terms were not disclosed, but the Financial Times reported that WPP likely paid a premium given interest in the agency from rivals such as Omnicom and Publicis.
Founded in 2005 in London, with offices in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Singapore and Tokyo, Essence employs 500 people and deploys campaigns in more than 70 markets worldwide.
Clients include Financial Times, Google, HP, Viber and Tesco Mobile. In August the shop won the digital AOR assignment for Intuit’s small business group, while financial services giant Visa selected the shop to support its programmatic efforts on a project and regional basis.
Essence will continue to operate as an independent brand within WPP and GroupM, WPP's global media investment management division. And it will continue to be led by Christian Juhl, who joined the firm as North American CEO in 2013 and was promoted to Global CEO in June of last year.
“The addition of Essence to GroupM represents significant expansion of our digital expertise, particularly with the Google technology stack," said Rob Norman, Chief Digital Offficer, GroupM.