Canadian Agency Sid Lee Acquired By Japan's Hakuhodo

Well-known Montreal-based ad agency Sid Lee has agreed to be acquired by Tokyo-based holding company Hakuhodo DY Holdings. Terms, as always, were not disclosed. Hakuhodo is the second-largest marketing-focused holding company behind Dentsu. 

Sid Lee is known for its work on Absolut, Axe and the Toronto Raptors. Hakuhodo was interested in Sid Lee so that it could expand its presence in North America and to extend service to its clients Toshiba and Nissan.  

Sid Lee will continue to operate under its own name but be housed under the New York-based Hakuhodo subsidiary Kyu, which is also home to Digital Kitchen and Red Peak Group. Sid Lee currently has offices in Montreal, Toronto, New York, Los Angeles, Paris and Amsterdam. 

As for why Sid Lee agreed to the acquisition, Chairman Betrand Cesvet said, “Our goal is to serve clients globally. Our clients are asking it from us. There are some RFPs where not being in Asia is a non-starter.” 



And on the added Asian presence this deal provides the agency, Cesvet added: “For Absolut, the biggest market for them is the U.S. but the fastest-growing is China. For these guys, it’s going to be important to be there. We work a lot with Intel in New York. For them, the Asian market is hugely important. We work with BNP Paribas in France. They are really interested in growing in Asia. So it’s going to be really interesting.” 

On the similar note of aspiring to a more global presence, Canadian agency Cossette sold an 85% stake in the agency to Chinese public relations firm BlueFocus Communications Group. And in 2013, Toronto-based John St. was acquired by UK-based WPP.

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