Aegis Expands Into Digital 'Creative,' Merges Hot Web Boutique Into Isobar

Aegis Group, the only "pure play" media services player among the major agency holding companies, is diversifying its portfolio to include creative services, albeit digital ones. Aegis Tuesday announced a deal to acquire De-construct, an award-winning digital creative agency in the U.K.

De-construct, which will become part of Aegis' burgeoning Isobar interactive media unit, specializes in cutting-edge website design and development. Aegis said it paid an initial price of $2.3 million, with deferred payments of up to $9.0 million over three years based on certain performance criteria.

While Aegis says it has no plans to explicitly enter the creative services business, it has been steadily increasing its creative capabilities in digital media, as well as in the fledgling practice of branded entertainment.

During a company presentation at the UBS Warburg Media Week conference in New York in December, Aegis CEO Douglas Flynn downplayed the notion that Aegis, parent of Carat and Europe's Vizeum media networks, might diversify into the creative business, at least in so far as acquiring or starting a full-service ad agency.

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"There are no current plans to do 30-second advertising spots," Flynn told MDN adding that if Aegis were to make a move into creative services it wouldn't necessarily be by acquiring a traditional agency. "If we are ever going to do creative we would do it quite differently from the way the other giants do," he said.

He noted that Isobar already provides creative services as part of its management of interactive media accounts, and Aegis operations have already gotten into the branded entertainment business, especially in China, where he said it is a requisite for getting an advertiser's messages on the state-controlled airwaves.

Founded in 2001 and headquartered in London, De-construct's clients include The BBC, Marks & Spencer, Panasonic, and Smirnoff .

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