SapientNitro Acquires Multicultural Shop La Comunidad

Deal Adds Strength in U.S. Hispanic and Latin American Markets

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Jose Molla of La Comunidad
Jose Molla of La Comunidad

SapientNitro has acquired Miami-based multicultural shop La Comunidad.

"As highly-connected, influential cross-cultural audiences rapidly become the new mainstream consumers, we see increasing opportunity to help clients create authentic experiences that resonate with an evolving target audience," said Alan J. Herrick, president and CEO of Sapient, in a statement.

SapientNitro, an independent technology and digital services agency with headquarters in Boston, had revenue of $772 million in 2012, according to the Ad Age DataCenter.

La Comunidad ranks as the 12th biggest U.S. Hispanic agency, with 2012 revenue of $15.8 million, according to Ad Age's Hispanic Fact Pack. The agency was on Ad Age's A-List last year.

The creative shop opened in 2001 in two countries at the same time, with Jose Molla running the U.S. Hispanic agency in Miami and his brother Joaquin in charge of the Buenos Aires office of La Comunidad. The U.S. agency outpaced the Argentine one in growth, and both Molla brothers are now based in Miami, doing U.S. Hispanic and Latin American work. La Comunidad's biggest client is Time Warner Cable. The agency also works with Apple, Corona beer, Jim Beam, Sauza tequila and the Discovery Kids channel.

In January 2013, SapientNitro entered Latin America by taking an 81% stake in Sao Paulo-based iThink, one of Brazil's last independent digital agencies. The La Comunidad acquisition will help strengthen SapientNitro in Latin America, where La Comunidad handles a number of regional accounts like Converse, as well as in the U.S. Hispanic market.

The move should also give the tech and digital services giant a little more clout in the advertising space as it continues to evolve from its technology services roots to become more of a creative marketing hub for brands.

In 2009, the technology services company then known as Sapient made its first major move into the ad space when it acquired global ad shop Nitro Group, giving it its current name. Nitro had 2008 worldwide revenue of $56.2 million, according to a disclosure in Sapient's 10-K for year ended December 2009.

Since then, the agency has been aggressive on the M&A front. In 2011, SapientNitro bought Clanmo, a mobile shop based in Cologne, Germany. Later that year, it acquired D&D Holdings, a London-based ad agency. In 2012, it set its sights on the U.S., acquiring Portland, OR-based digital agency Second Story and mPhasize, a marketing analytics company in Westport, CT.

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