Dentsu Buys Innovation Interactive – As In 360i, Search Ignite, Netmining

Dentsu Buys Innovation InteractiveAnother independent digital agency has been gobbled.

The Wall Street Journal’s Suzanne Vranica reported last night that top-5 holding company, Dentsu, was in the final stages of acquiring Innovation Interactive which owns 360i, Search Ignite and Netmining ( Q&A). According to Vranica, “The deal under discussion is valued at roughly $200 million… In 2009, Innovation’s revenue was about $69 million.” Read more. This morning, the deal was confirmed in a release by Dentsu here. Ad Age has more here and notes that iCrossing may be next.

Tim Andree, President & CEO, Dentsu Holdings USA, gives the corporate perspective in the release: “Unmatched digital expertise, world class capabilities and proven performance are what led us to Innovation Interactive, but it is their unique culture, commitment to clients and industry leadership that make this marriage a true win-win. Will [Margiloff, co-CEO at Innovation], Bryan [Wiener, co-CEO] and I have spent nearly a year walking in each other’s shoes, and the farther we walked, the more clearly we saw compatibilities that would result in a higher value proposition for our clients. We share the same passion for client-centric operations and continual innovation for some of the largest brands in the world.” It would seem Margiloff and Wiener will have important roles in the company going forward as Dentsu transitions its agencies into a digital world. Getting digital leaders can be a key part of any acquisition by a holding company.

And, Dentsu aspires to be a data-driven company if their website’s home page is any indication. The tag line says, “Good Innovation.” Is today’s news coincidence? gathered some reaction from the ad ecosystem…

Darren Herman, President of Varick Media Management said:

I think this move by Dentsu is another nod to advertising and technology aligning. If you are going to build the agency structure of the future, having technology at the core is a must. Will and his team over at Innovation Interactive innovated and executed towards this aligned goal and now it’s a new chapter in their life with Dentsu.

Randy Nicolau, CEO of Demdex added:

This is a great exit for Innovation Interactive. During the past 10 years Innovation Interactive has built a solid, diverse business which includes search technology, analytics/targeting, and agency services. I would keep an eye on the demand-side platforms, ad verification services, and behavioral data management firms. An acquisition of one of these companies will likely signal that the race to own the best ‘audience platforma has begun.”

Kirby Winfield is CEO of mPire, makers of AdXpose commented:

“It is interesting to see this news on the heels of the recent Vivaki announcement (no more equity investing) and the relative silence on the tech deal front for the past few quarters from the traditionally tech-acquisitive WPP Group. That said, IPG looks to have reorganized its efforts around tech with the recent formation of Split, and digital leaders within agencies are certainly being promoted more frequently into leadership roles within traditional agencies.”

Zach Coelius, CEO of Triggit said:

“I think agencies are starting to recognize that technology is reshaping their business just like it has in every other sector in the economy.”

By John Ebbert

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