Well, it was quite a year for Dentsu, which issued 2017 results this week.
The Japan holding company’s international operation, Dentsu Aegis Network, killed it on the new business front, reaping $5.2 billion in new business wins for the year (that’s a billings figure), which was a record.
Wins included Jaguar Land Rover, a piece of A-B InBev and Subway.
But that only translated to 0.4% organic growth. That could be due to the fact that some of those wins won’t be realized on the books until this year. It could also mean the firm won some of that business (who knows how much) by charging very low fees to undercut the competition.
And some of those of wins may have come through acquisitions, and the firm was very acquisitive last year.
In fact, the company was the most acquisitive firm in the marketing/communications M&A space last year, according to an analysis by agency tracker COMvergence.
Of course, organic growth wasn’t easy to come by for any of the holding companies last year, including Dentsu. The group posted gross profits of 9.2%, mainly due to acquisitions as the firm acknowledged. Organic growth for the whole group was just 0.1%.
The good news: Q4 organic growth was significantly higher at 2.8%.
But growth in the Americas was lackluster: flat in Q4 and down 1.5% for the year.
Yes, the firm had a mixed year numbers-wise, just like its peers. But hope springs eternal. As the company’s president and CEO, Toshiro Yamamoto put it: “We are upbeat about the prospects for further new business growth in FY2018. We remain committed to differentiating our product offering and momentum is with the business as we enter FY2018.”
That’s the spirit!