Adland Facing More Competition

Looks like the consultancies are ramping up their agency acquisition activities. Accenture has acquired three shops in the last month.

And now, The Wall Street Journal reports, Deloitte has fired back, with the acquisition of Acne, the Swedish agency that counts Ikea among its clients.

Like Accenture, Deloitte has been aggressive in buying up shops recently. It bought the UK’s Market Gravity a couple of months ago and San Francisco-based Heat last year. The acquired shops are having an impact on the new business front. Last month, Heat won global AOR duties for John Hancock. IPG’s Hill Holliday had previously handled the work.

According to COMvergence, nine of the 43 M&A deals in the agency/marketing space in the first half of the year were acquired by consultants like Accenture and Deloitte. Accenture made one of the top five largest deals with its estimated $73 million purchase of a majority stake in Germany’s SinnerSchrader.



Accenture was one of the two most acquisitive IT/consulting firms of digital agencies last year, along with IBM iX. Both firms made seven agency acquisitions in 2016, per COMvergence,

The combined staff and revenues of the companies acquired by Accenture were 1,284 employees and $172 million, respectively.

More competition for Adland. But competition is good, right? I don’t think I’ve ever heard an agency or holding company CEO say they didn’t welcome competition on an investor conference call.

I wonder if they really mean it? They certainly have enough to worry about with endlessly tepid economic growth, clients squeezing their fees and the Justice Department breathing down their neck over production practices that may or may not be legal.

It doesn’t really matter whether they mean it or not. They’re getting it.


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