Cheil Worldwide Acquires The Barbarian Group

South Korea marketing agency Cheil Worldwide has picked up a majority stake in The Barbarian Group, the acclaimed agency behind Burger King’s Subservient Chicken.

With the acquisition, Barbarian Group will move its headquarters from Boston to New York. Its management — including CEO Benjamin Palmer, COO Rick Webb, and Keith Butters, chief experience officer — will remain in place. The agency has created work for Kashi and Red Bull, among other clients.

In a blog post today, Webb sought to assure employees and clients the agency was not about to be amalgamated into a faceless parent company.

“This is still The Barbarian Group, we’re still called The Barbarian Group, and we are still committed to making things awesome. This is the next evolutionary step in our adventure towards making things awesome,” he wrote.

Cheil operates 31 offices in 25 countries, and employs more than 1,500. Its investment in TBG is the latest in a series of moves designed to place it in competition with the largest global agencies. One year ago it bought creative shop London-based Beattie McGuinness Bungay.

AdMedia Partners advised Cheil in the transaction.

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