Aegis Sweeps Up Two U.S. Agencies

As the online ad market continues to see softness, the roll-up of interactive agencies also continues, with the U.K.-based Aegis Group purchasing independent shops Lot 21 and Vizium.

According to sources close to the deal, Aegis paid just over $2 million for San Francisco-based Lot 21, and about $650,000 for Framingham, Mass.-based Vizium. Aegis also agreed to pay each firm additional sums if they meet certain performance criteria, up to a total of $15 million to $20 million for both.

Following the acquisition, which is slated to close this month, Aegis will integrate the two U.S. firms to work alongside its existing North American online unit, Carat Interactive.

However, it is not known whether Carat Interactive, which is itself only about a year old, will continue to maintain the two shops’ independent brands, though there might be good sense to such a plan. Four-year-old Lot 21, for instance, has made a name for itself as one of the space’s leading creative shops.

Meanwhile, the parent company of Carat Interactive is chiefly known as a media buyer. To some extent, that reputation has trickled down to color the branding of its online unit, though Carat Interactive actually maintains a full catalog of online advertising services.

Spokespeople for Lot 21 were not available for comment. Spokespeople for Vizium and Carat Interactive did not return requests for comment by press time.

The news comes following another high-profile roll-up, the ultimate result of which also is still uncertain. Last week, Omnicom Group-backed holding company Seneca Investments completed its buyout of Organic, adding that San Francisco agency to the roster of shops it already owns, which includes Agency.com and Red Sky.

Red Sky has since been integrated closely beside Agency.com, serving a role on joint pitches as Agency’s creative specialist unit.

Organic chief executive Mark Kingdon told internetnews.com earlier this week that so far, “there hasn’t been any conversation” about a possible restructuring of Agency.com and his firm

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