Dentsu Aegis Buys London-based Mobile Agency Network Fetch

The Estimated $48 Million Deal Will Boost Mobile Offering Across Japanese Group

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Nigel Morris
Nigel Morris
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Dentsu Aegis Network has acquired London-based Fetch Media, an international mobile specialist, for an estimated $48 million, and aims to grow the agency around the world -- particularly in North America -- and boost mobile across the whole group.

Fetch will retain its brand identity but will also work with Dentsu Aegis agencies, which include Isobar, Carat, McGarryBowen, Dentsu and Vizeum.

Nigel Morris, CEO of Dentus Aegis Network Americas & Europe, Middle East and Africa, said in a statement, "Fetch has a very fast growing agency arm in the U.S. and we are looking forward to adding their unique capabilities within our U.S. operating model and to scaling the business."

Despite the reported $48 million price tag, Fetch is still relatively small. The agency was founded in London in 2009 by James Connelly and Declan Reddington, and employs just 96 people, with offices in San Francisco, Berlin and Hong Kong. Clients include Ebay and Hotels.com.

The Fetch management will report to Robert Horler, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Northern Europe. Mr. Horler said in a statement, "Growing our digital profile across all capabilities is one of our five strategic priorities and this deal clearly recognizes the potential we see in both Fetch and the wider mobile market.

Dentsu Aegis Network, which is owned by Japanese holding company Dentsu, was formed when Dentsu bought U.K.-based Aegis Group last year. Since completing the $5 billion purchase, Dentsu has pursued a strategy of making small-to-medium sized acquisitions, looking outside of its home territory, although there has been periodic speculation about a possible deal to acquire Interpublic Group of Cos.

Fetch is the tenth acquisition this year. In September, Dentsu Aegis bought San Diego, Calif.-based shop Covario, a search and performance-marketing agency, to be rolled into iProspect and in May it acquired New York-based events and promotions shop MKTG Inc for $52 million. In June, Dentsu expanded the McGarryBowen network to include Sao Paulo.

Mr. Connelly said in the statement, "Dentsu Aegis Network has a proven track record of growing digital businesses and a clear appreciation of the increasing importance of mobile in the media landscape."