Euro RSCG Buys New York-Based Shop Strategy Farm

Acquisition Is Latest in a String of Deals for Parent Havas

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Havas' Euro RSCG Worldwide has acquired 3-year-old New York-based indie shop Strategy Farm. The deal marks the third investment in a small agency the Paris-based holding company has made in almost as many months.

In January, Ad Age reported Havas would take a majority stake in Colleen Decourcy's digital startup, Socialistic, and, in February, that Havas was backing new creative shop Camp & King.

Laurel Rossi
Laurel Rossi

The Strategy Farm acquisition was the result of a year's worth of talks between Strategy Farm's founder, Laurel Rossi, and Donna Murphy, worldwide co-managing partner of Euro RSCG Life and Havas Health. As part of the deal, the agency will be renamed Euro RSCG Worldwide Strat Farm. But it will remain an independently operated company that sits under Euro, reporting into Ms. Murphy. It is also moving from its 5th Avenue office to 200 Madison Avenue, where the New York operations of Euro RSCG PR and Euro RSCG Life are based.

"They bring a totally different flavor with a standalone brand led by strategy first," Ms. Murphy said of Euro's interest in acquiring Strategy Farm. The parties declined to reveal terms of the deal, though they did note that it was a 100% acquisition.

Ms. Rossi started Strategy Farm in 2008 in the middle of the recession. Earlier she was the managing director at Hill Holliday, New York, and before that spent time on the marketer side at Citigroup and Revlon. She is also VP of the Advertising Club of New York.

Strategy Farm has 10 full time employees and 30 on a part time basis. The boutique's executive creative director, Pamela Vahdat, will remain at the agency, working with agency clients Mastercard, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Weight Watchers and Capgemini North America. The agency is in many ways a strategic consultant to marketers but it also handles some brand advertising, digital, direct marketing and social media clients.

Ms. Rossi said it's not the first time her firm was courted by a holding company. "We've been fortunate in terms of having people look at our agency," she said, but "Donna has exhibited, and Euro exhibits, entrepreneurship as an organization ... that really was the thing that was so attractive for us," Ms. Rossi said. She added that the assets of a media partner in MPG, the ability to invest more in talent, and scale were the other factors that made it the right time to ink a deal with Euro and Havas.

"Deep expertise from a talent-pool perspective is not inexpensive," Ms. Rossi said. "The place that Strategy Farm was at in its growth cycle requires scale; we have the ability to attract fantastic blue chip clients, but need scale."