Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

As Profits Bounce Back, Acquisitions Are on the Marketing Agenda

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

As Profits Bounce Back, Acquisitions Are on the Marketing Agenda

Article excerpt

Byline: Gideon Spanier

JUST like their clients, who have cut debt and are sitting on cash piles, marketing firms are in acquisitive mood. With profits rising, now is the time to buy -- or sell.

In the last six weeks, French giant Publicis has snapped up three small London agencies, creative firms Chemistry and Kittcatt Nohr and digital social media outfit Holler.

London independent Engine Group is also expanding, with new private equity backing, and has just bought two US agencies.

And the world's biggest marketing group, WPP, has gobbled up 10 firms outside the UK since November. "Valuations remain reasonable," says WPP, despite "froth" in the US and Brazil.

As well as growth in emerging markets, big firms urgently want more digital expertise -- social media, viral and mobile are all hot.

Integration is also a driver. Agencies feel they must offer clients as many marketing disciplines as possible -- particularly when some traditional revenues have fallen. …

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