WPP Gobbles Fortune Cookie for Eastern Europe Expansion

wpp-fortunecookieThe acquisition of London-based digital shop Fortune Cookie by WPP-owned Possible Worldwide gives the agency network a stronger foothold in Eastern Europe. The 15-year-old Fortune Cookie recently opened a “major” office in Katowice, Poland, according to Possible Worldwide.

The buy could signal an emphasis on the Eastern European market by WPP, which has spent millions in recent years snapping up digital agencies, web analytics firms, and design agencies in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America. With the Fortune Cookie deal, WPP gets a majority stake in the agency, which also has offices in Australia, the Netherlands, and the U.S. Clients of the small firm, which has around 190 employees, include BP, Canon, and NetJets.

“This investment continues WPP’s strategy of developing its services in fast-growing and important markets and sectors and strengthening its capabilities in digital media,” noted WPP in a press statement about the acquisition.

The holding company said its digital revenues totaled $4.8 billion in 2011, accounting for 30 percent of its overall $16 billion haul. That was up from 25 percent in 2009. The company aims for digital to represent 35 to 40 percent of its revenues in the next five years.

“The merger enables us to deliver our award-winning brand of work, wider, faster and in new fields,” said Fortune Cookie CEO Justin Cooke in a statement on the company’s site. The agency designs and builds mobile and tablet apps and sites and offers other digital marketing and strategy services.

According to WPP, Fortune Cookie’s consolidated revenues were around $14.6 million for the year ended August 31, 2011.

WPP made a huge splash during this year’s Cannes Lions ad industry awards extravaganza in June when it bought AKQA, reportedly the largest independent digital agency in the U.S. if not the world. Other buys in recent years have included U.S. agencies Rockfish Interactive, Big Spaceship, and Blue State Digital, and Brazil agencies Gringo and F.biz.

This probably won’t be the last of WPP’s digital agency investments in the near future. As part of the AKQA deal, WPP named AKQA chairman Tom Bedecarre as president of WPP Ventures, a Silicon Valley division dedicated to sniffing out additional investment opportunities.

Terms of the Fortune Cookie acquisition were not disclosed.

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