Dentsu Aegis Acquires Analytics Shop Cardinal Path

Agency Manages Training Sessions For Google Partner Agencies

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Cardinal Path leadership (l.-r.: John Hossack, Alex Langshur, Corey Koberg, David Booth, David Eckman).
Cardinal Path leadership (l.-r.: John Hossack, Alex Langshur, Corey Koberg, David Booth, David Eckman). Credit: Courtesy Dentsu Aegis

Dentsu Aegis has acquired digital marketing shop Cardinal Path as it looks to build its performance marketing and analytics offering.

"I want a more scaled, more digitally focused capability in this space, and I want a business that I think fits and is complimentary to the business we already have," said Robert Horler, U.S. CEO of Dentsu Aegis, which is the name for Dentsu's operations outside its Japanese headquarters.

For Cardinal Path, it represents an opportunity to grow internationally through the holding company's global network.

Cardinal Path has "a number of clients who have said to them, 'If you were a global business and could scale globally, we'd give you other business in other markets,'" said Mr. Horler. "They want to be part of a global opportunity and can only do that in a network."

Following the acquisition, Cardinal Path President and Co-Founder John Hossack will report jointly into Mr. Horler and Annette Warring, CEO of Dentsu Aegis in Canada.

While Cardinal Path will maintain its brand within the network, it will work closely with media agencies Carat and Vizeum, as well as performance marketing shop iProspect.

The firm's capabilities -- digital analytics, user experience and search and performance -- are complimentary to the network's existing search, data and performance business, but also enhance Dentsu Aegis' current offering with a digital training function. The shop has been managing Google's Global Partner Academy, a program that provides training sessions to Google Partner agencies around the world. The shop's current clients include Intel, Bridgestone, Universal Music Group and Pfizer.

Cardinal Path was founded in 2011 as a merger of three web analytics and digital intelligence firms -- Ottawa-based PublicInsite, Vancouver-based VKI Studios and Tempe, Ariz.-based WebShare -- and currently touts a presence in Chicago, Vancouver, Phoenix and Toronto. Dentsu Aegis wouldn't disclose any information regarding the firm's financials or the terms of the deal, beyond saying that Cardinal Path's annual growth rate in gross revenue is greater than 30%.

The shop has grown under the guidance of Abundant Ventures, a minority investor and healthcare and media accelerator started by media agency and tech vets Andrew Swinand and Eric Langshur. Mr. Langshur and Cardinal Path Senior Partner Alex Langshur are brothers.

Dentsu Aegis has had an appetite for performance, data and analytics acquisitions since Japanese holding company parent Dentsu acquired the Aegis media agency network in March 2013. A year after the deal closed, Dentsu Aegis acquired New York-based events and promotions shop MKTG for $52 million. Later in 2014, it bought global performance shops Covario and Rockett Interactive to scale its existing capabilities within iProspect.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article erroneously said Eric Langshur is a co-founder of Cardinal Path. He is not; Cardinal Path Senior Partner Alex Langshur is.

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