Dentsu Aegis Plans to Acquire Experiential Agency MKTG for $52 Million

Company Wants at Least 55% of Revenue to Come from Outside Japan by 2017

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Nigel Morris, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Americas.
Nigel Morris, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Americas.

Dentsu Aegis Network, which is owned by Japanese holding company Dentsu, has struck a deal to acquire New York-based events and promotions shop MKTG Inc for $52 million, the company said today. Under the terms of the agreement, which still needs to be approved by MKTG stockholders, Dentsu Aegis will acquire all outstanding shares of MKTG common stock for $2.80 per share in cash.

The move marks the Japanese ad giant's first U.S. acquisition since completing its acquisition of media and digital agency network Aegis last March. The deal is expected to close during the third quarter of 2014. Among MKTG's clients are Google, P&G and Diageo.

"It's about activating close to the point of purchase," said Nigel Morris, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Americas. "It's on strategy, we were really impressed with the management, and we can integrate it quickly."

"We believe there are strong synergies between our approaches and experience, and together, we can continue to grow our offering in direct to consumer marketing," MKTG chairman-CEO Charlie Horsey said in a statement.

Dentsu Aegis -- Dentsu's holding group overseeing operations outside Japan -- includes Carat, Dentsu, Dentsu Media, iProspect, Isobar, McGarryBowen, Posterscope and Vizeum.

MKTG will sit within a Dentsu Aegis subsidiary called Aegis Lifestyle.

Dentsu's acquisition of U.K.-based Aegis Group last year transformed the Japanese company into a more global player. And deals that expand Dentsu's reach beyond Japan are likely to continue if the company is to meet its five-year plan, in which it aims to generate at least 55% of its revenue from outside Japan by 2017.

The company generated 48% of its revenue from outside Japan during its most recently completed fiscal year, it said May 13. Before the Aegis acquisition, the group earned about 15% of its revenue outside Japan.

Dentsu reported revenue of 594.0 billion yen ($5.94 billion) in the year ended March 31, up from 345.9 billion yen in the year-earlier period, which did not include Aegis. The company has not yet provided pro-forma figures giving a like-for-like comparison. With Aegis included, the company completed 2013 with $6.9 billion in revenue, according to the Ad Age DataCenter.

Last year, Dentsu Aegis made 17 acquisitions. And this year, the company has made seven to-date, not including MKTG.

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