WhittmanHart Acquires DNA Studio

Independent interactive agency WhittmanHart has acquired rival DNA Studio, which is strong in video, for an undisclosed sum. The deal adds brands like Toyota Motor Sales, Best Buy, Anheuser-Busch and General Electric to WhittmanHart’s client stable, which already includes Procter & Gamble’s Tide, Harley-Davidson and Johnson & Johnson.

The deal will immediately grow WhittmanHart’s revenues 40 percent, executives said, and staff and offices by nearly that much. Total headcount will be 400 in 11 offices coast-to-coast.

It’s the company’s second acquisition this year. In January it bought health-focused digital marketing firm Estco.net.

“Acquisition is part of our strategy,” WhittmanHart Interactive President David Skinner told ClickZ News. “Even if you grow today at a rate of 25, 30, 35 percent organically… because of [the rate of] consolidation, by definition you’ll fall behind.”

Skinner said a big part of DNA Studio’s appeal as an acquisition target is the agency’s strength in video design and production, an ever more important medium for online marketers. DNA Studio boasts in-house pre- and post-production facilities and counts numerous film studios and entertainment companies among its clients. These include Paramount Pictures, Sony Digital Entertainment, MGM and Warner Bros. In addition to Web development, the agency has worked in DVD and iTV environments. It was founded in 1995.

DNA Studio Chief Executive John Moshay will join WhittmanHart’s executive ranks as VP of business development, and COO Chris Gibbin becomes VP of creative and strategic services.

WhittmanHart’s historic core competency is in Web development, but the firm also offers online display and search advertising services. Last year, it led the online effort behind Tide’s ColdWater challenge.

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