WPP Continues Rapid Expansion of Possible Worldwide With U.K. Agency Buy

Acquires London-based Digital Agency Fortune Cookie

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In continuing to rapidly grow Possible Worldwide, the global digital-agency network it began building last year, WPP's made its latest agency purchase: 190-person digital shop Fortune Cookie .

Possible Global CEO Shane Atchison
Possible Global CEO Shane Atchison
Purchase price was not disclosed for the London-based shop, which has a handful of global offices and a client roster that includes Canon, NetJets, BP and Royal Caribbean.

The deal bolsters Possible Worldwide's existing presence in the U.K. and Eastern European markets and gives it two new office locations in Australia -- one in Sydney and the other in Melbourne.

"Emerging markets are a key part of our overall growth strategy," Possible Global CEO Shane Atchison told Ad Age . "We have strong existing operations in Brazil, Russia, India and China, for instance -- and the Polish office in particular is a great addition to our existing Eastern European operations in Russia, Hungary, Romania and Serbia."

It's another sign that WPP -- which is continuing to try and bulk up on digital, as evidenced by its $540 million acquisition of AKQA this summer -- is committed to making a go of building its own digital agency network by rolling up its own agencies and buying new ones, and then placing them all under the Possible umbrella.

So far, it has folded existing properties such as Schematic , Bridge Worldwide and Zaaz under Possible and has made a series of global acquisitions including: Brazilian digital shop Gringo, Budapest-based Carnation Agency and Moscow-based Grape.

Some industry executives note that WPP is a bit late to the party to be building a global digital network now, but the holding company's goal is to create an entity with a significant global footprint to compete for new business against established competitors in the space, such as Publicis Groupe 's Razorfish or Digitas. An earlier list would have also included AKQA, but post WPP-acquisition, the idea will be to serve Possible up to clients as an alternative digital offering.

As part of the deal, Justin Cooke, who founded Fortune Cookie in 1997, becomes the U.K. CEO of Possible, reporting to Mr. Atchison.

The name of his agency will be shed and replaced by the Possible banner. Said Mr. Cooke in a statement: "At the core of developing great solutions for clients is cultivating an atmosphere around brilliant people -- a philosophy we share, and we are quite proud to now call ourselves Possible Worldwide."

Possible Worldwide had revenue of $100 million last year, with wins at Disney, AMC, Sony and Starz. With this latest acquisition, WPP says the total agency headcount amounts approximately 1,500 staff across 26 offices.

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