Dentsu, one of the largest global ad holding companies, is hoping to acquire digital shop AKQA for $600 million, according to reports. The Japanese firm wants to expand its presence in Western markets, particularly in the U.K. and the U.S., U.K.-based newspaper the Guardian reported.
Citing unnamed sources, the Guardian report suggested General Atlantic, a private equity firm that has a stake in AKQA, is in favor of the deal. But AKQA Chairman Ajaz Ahmed and CEO Tom Bedecarre – who own an estimated 10 percent share of the company – apparently are not.
As the report notes, however, AKQA is likely approached on a regular basis regarding a potential purchase, and Dentsu’s competing agency networks – such as WPP and Publicis – are probably monitoring the firm’s progress closely.
AKQA clients have included major global brands including Volkswagen, Gap, and McDonald’s, and the agency currently operates offices in San Francisco, New York, Washington, Amsterdam, Berlin, London and Shanghai.
Dentsu, meanwhile, has been growing its ties with U.S.-based companies, and earlier this month forged a multi-year partnership with ad management and exchange platform OpenX, launching an online ad exchange in Japan. In January it also acquired U.S.-based innovation interactive, which includes digital agency 360i.
GroupM predicts that global ad spend will top $547 billion next year, up from $524 billion this year. While television will still capture the biggest share of that 12-figure pie (41%), digital's share will grow from 31% to 33%.
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