Dentsu Aegis Network has signed an agreement to acquire a majority stake in global data-driven performance marketing agency Merkle.
Dentsu Aegis will acquire the stake from Technology Crossover Ventures and other shareholders, while Merkle’s management, founder and Maryland-based employees will still maintain a significant minority interest. The transaction is expected to close before September 2016.
“As we considered a new investment partner, we sought a fit that would complement our vision, escalate our brand, and provide growth opportunities for our people, while also valuing Merkle’s unique strengths and culture,” said Merkle chairman and chief executive David Williams. “Becoming a part of Dentsu Aegis Network further strengthens our position and allows us to accelerate our goal of being a world-class Global performance marketing agency.
Merkle is reported to have generated $436m of revenues in 2015, up 14% on 2014, with over 650 global clients.
“Through this process I’ve spent a lot of time with Dentsu Aegis Network’s leadership team. Their vision, ambition and perspective on the people-based marketing opportunity align with ours at Merkle. Ultimately this is about doing great work for clients and being part of Dentsu Aegis Network will enhance our ability to be true strategic partners to our clients.”
“We have long admired the Merkle business, brand and people and are delighted that they are becoming part of our Group, complementing our existing offer to clients and strengthening our competitive advantage at the forefront of the rapidly growing digital economy,” added Dentsu Aegis chief executive officer Jerry Buhlman.
“Our investment in Merkle is a unique opportunity to bring together two great businesses which have a strong fit in strategic, product, cultural and geographic terms. As the latest brand in our global network, Merkle will be able to accelerate its transformation into an international agency, by leveraging our global reach and platforms and providing new capabilities to our clients.
“The growth of the digital economy is one of the few certainties in an uncertain world. Merkle brings a powerful range of data led, fully addressable and real time capabilities. The combination of our two businesses will create a compelling offer in that context for existing and potential clients.”