IBM Makes First Agency Acquisition With Resource/Ammirati

Move Indicates Continued Convergence of Consulting and Agency Services

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IBM Interactive Experience, a digital marketing services group within IBM, is set to acquire digital creative shop Resource/Ammirati.

Kelly Mooney
Kelly Mooney

The deal, which will mark IBM's first agency creative acquisition, is projected to close in the first quarter of 2016.

"IBM has been on this path for a couple years," said John Armstrong, IBM's North American leader for IBM Interactive Experience. "Our endeavor is to solve the complex transitions and transformations our clients face in this whole realm of digital, and [with] the covergence of the phsycial and digital world, to drive great experinces."

The acquisition provides IBM with access to "deep thought capital and working relationships in the CMO community," he said. For Resource/Ammirati, it means greater access to data and analytics.

"As an independent, what we wanted to do was play in a bigger way, to help clients grow globally," said Ms. Mooney. "We needed more powerful data and analytics services to drive transformative experiences. We think that with our capabilities, combined with and powered by Watson, we'll do some breakthrough experiences."

The deal indicates a continued convergence of agency services and consulting.

"The CMO and CIO increasingly have to partner to tackle shared objectives," said Kelly Mooney. Resource/Ammirati CEO. "We think that with our combined talent and expertise and offerings, [we're] really going to be a great partner for CMOs and CIOs together."

"We've migrated and shifted away from being a core consultancy and likewise companies like Resource/Ammirati have had to adapt and change and move to really address more the digital advent and challenges clients face," said Mr. Armstrong.

Ohio-based Resource, known for its retail and e-commerce expertise, acquired New York-based creative shop Ammirati in April 2014. "We're bringing in more advertising, shopper marketing and package design [capabilities] that allow us to be agnostic about what the [client] problem is and how we approach it," said Ms. Mooney at the time.

This move to sell to IBM is certainly in line with that approach. Also aligned are the client portfolios at the two companies. Resource/Ammirati shares 75% of its current clients with IBM.

"We have huge synergies to uncover," said Ms. Mooney.

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