Holding companies continue to zero in on digital shops.
With Big Fuel sold, will Rockfish Interactive be next? ClickZ News has learned that the Rogers, AR-based digital shop has been in talks with WPP during recent weeks and an agreement between the two companies may be in the final stages. According to a source close to the situation, the initial offer was in the neighborhood of $40 million.
When asked about a potential deal on Monday, Rockfish Interactive CEO Kenny Tomlin wouldn't directly address WPP. Tomlin said discussions with holding companies have become commonplace since 2008, when his agency of 150 staffers started garnering industry accolades.
"It's a pretty frequent topic of conversation, increasingly so with all the news around the company, our rapid growth… While we are always honored by the interest, there's nothing imminent at this time to discuss," Tomlin said. WPP New York declined to comment.
Rockfish has opened four new offices since 2009 and services brands including EA Sports, Cisco, Sam's Club, Walmart, White Cloud, and Tyson Foods. Its upward trajectory resembles recent growth by Big Fuel, which sold to Publicis this morning.
Indeed, holding companies are out hunting for hot digital shops. In particular, said Big Fuel CEO Jon Bond, they're looking for social media agencies because more brands are starting to demand expertise in areas like Facebook and Twitter marketing.
"I think social media is going to be a major global medium for advertisers," Bond said. "There has been a lot of global Facebook projects in the last three months. And you are going to have to be able to service clients to have that kind of reach."
Big Fuel, headquartered in New York with an office in Detroit, counts General Motors, T-Mobile, Clorox, Microsoft, Philips, and Colgate-Palmolive as clients. The agency has made a name for itself as a big brand "social AOR," growing from 30 to 170 employees in the last year and a half.
Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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