Omnicom Group's DDB Acquires London Hotshop Adam & Eve

Indie Agency Will Move Into DDB's U.K. Offices

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Adam & Eve is preparing to move out of the old banana warehouse it has called home since opening its doors in order to move into the London headquarters of its new parent: Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide.

DDB struck a deal to acquire the indie hotshop founded in 2008 by a trio of RKCR/Y&R execs -- David Golding, James Murphy and Ben Priest -- and Jon Forsyth from Naked. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The team will merge with DDB U.K., and, according to an Omnicom Group statement, the management team of Adam & Eve/DDB will comprise the Adam & Eve partners and members of DDB U.K. management. It will be led by Mr. Murphy, who has been appointed CEO of the newly combined shop. Stephen Woodford, CEO of DDB U.K., will become the agency's chairman.

"Adam & Eve is a great fit with the DDB culture, our U.K. team, and with the network as a whole," DDB Worldwide President-CEO Chuck Brymer said in a statement. "Their creativity and vision aligns perfectly with our ambitions for the London market and adds world-class talent to what is already one of our premiere offices. Joining the two agencies will establish a creative powerhouse in the London market and globally."

"It is both an honor and an incredible opportunity to be uniting Adam & Eve with DDB," said Mr. Murphy. "We have worked tirelessly with an outstanding team to build a successful and creative communications agency. We intend to continue doing so as we lead Adam & Eve/DDB into a new period. Our two agencies share a similar culture, ambition and purpose. Together, we can unleash the potential of both."

Both agencies do high-profile creative work for rival department stores -- John Lewis at Adam & Eve and Harvey Nichols at DDB -- and it remains to be seen if one client will have to go.

The acquisition is a bit curious; Omnicom has repeatedly stated on earnings calls that it's being cautious because of the instability in the European markets. Omnicom Group CEO John Wren has publicly stated that the company -- which is the second-largest ad holding firm in the world -- has been largely focused on expanding its business outside the U.S. and U.K., and instead buying shops in emerging markets. Last year, Omnicom's acquisitions included purchases in India, Turkey and South Africa.

The fact that the agency will be renamed Adam & Eve/DDB is a sign that Omnicom and the DDB network are hoping that the indie cred Adam & Eve has built over the past few years will bolster DDB's operations in the U.K. Within just three years of opening, Adam & Eve expanded to 50 employees, and its client roster has grown to include Foster's beer, Sony, The Telegraph and Google and YouTube.

Earlier this year, Adam & Eve was behind the launch of the first Google+ TV ad to break in the U.K.

DDB U.K.'s plum client is Volkswagen, but it has lost some key pieces of business such as Phillips and Virgin Media in recent times. The hope will be to attract new accounts with the addition of Adam & Eve.

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