WPP Acquires Digital Agency AKQA

WPPWPP Group has added digital agency AKQA to its holding company corral as the digital, pure play agency remains a highly-sought-after prize. Read the release.

It was rumored that AKQA would be acquired by Dentsu for $600 million in 2010. Though today’s acquisition did not include terms of the deal, and considering time has passed and AKQA presumably has grown from its 2010 efforts, one would think that the $600 million price tag figure could be in the ballpark if not a bit low. (See below). According to the release, “[AKQA] had gross assets of $282 million as at 31 December 2011 and forecasts revenues of around $230 million in 2012, having achieved $189 million in 2011.” The digital agency has 1160 people worldwide. AKQA has been considered one of the leading, independent digital agencies.

As far as the programmatic buying world, the company was thinking about real-time bidding and its efficiencies ‘way back’ in 2009 as this brief interview with AKQA’s Scott Symonds illustrates.

UPDATE: The FT reports (registration required) on the acquisiton price and a quote from WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell: “‘I’m not pretending it’s cheap. Nothing good comes easy and nothing good comes cheap,’ Sir Martin told the FT. But he added that the enterprise value of about $540m would meet WPP’s 6.1 per cent cost of capital and be accretive to earnings in year one.”

More to come.

By John Ebbert

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