Dentsu Aegis to Buy Data and Performance Marketing Agency Merkle

Deal Comes One Month After Dentsu Acquires B-to-B Creative Agency Gyro

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Dentsu Aegis CEO Jerry Buhlmann.
Dentsu Aegis CEO Jerry Buhlmann. Credit: Dentsu Aegis

Dentsu Aegis has signed a deal to acquire a majority stake in data and performance marketing agency Merkle as the network drives toward its goal of becoming a "100% digital economy business by 2020."

In the deal, which is expected to be complete by next month, Dentsu will buy shares from private equity firm Technology Crossover Ventures and other shareholders, while Merkle CEO David Williams, the management team and staffers will retain a "significant minority interest," according to an agency statement.

Representatives from Dentsu Aegis and Merkle were not immediately available for comment.

"The growth of the digital economy is one of the few certainties in an uncertain world," said Dentsu Aegis CEO Jerry Buhlmann in a statement. "Merkle brings a powerful range of data led, fully addressable and real time capabilities. The combination of our two businesses will create a compelling offer in that context for existing and potential clients."

Last year, Merkle, with 3,400 employees across 16 offices in the U.S. and 5 abroad, garnered $436 million in revenue, up 14% jump over 2014. In February, Merkle purchased London performance marketing firm DBG as part of its plan to spend $1 billion on acquisitions by 2020.

"Becoming a part of Dentsu Aegis Network further strengthens our position and allows us to accelerate our goal of being a world-class global performance marketing agency," said Mr. Williams in a statement.

Dentsu Aegis in July acquired b-to-b creative agency Gyro, which was named Ad Age's B-to-B Agency of the Year for 2015.

In addition to the eponymous agency Dentsu, the holding company's portfolio also include Carat, McGarryBowen, 360i, iProspect, Isobar and Vizeum.

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