Spray and razorfish merge to build global network

Leading European new media consultancy Spray Network is to merge with Omnicom-dominated US agency razorfish in a deal that both sides claim will create “the world’s first global strategic digital com- munications network”.

Swedish agency Spray, which employs 160 employees in offices in Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki and Hamburg, will combine with razorfish to create an international agency, employing a total of 350. The merger follows the recent acquisition of London agency CHBi by razorfish, which established a foothold for the US agency in the UK market.

According to Spray chief executive officer Per Bystedt: “This is a 50:50 merger between equals. It will be great to have Omnicom as a long-term strategic partner.”

Omnicom, which has a majority stake in razorfish, is expected to own just over 30 per cent of the merged agency. Spray, which counts SAS, Nokia and retailers H&M and Electrolux among its clients, is75 per cent-owned by its founders and staff, with the remainder held by a number of investors outside Scandinavia.

According to Bystedt, who becomes chairman of the new group, the three-year-old company expects to make a ten per cent profit margin on a turnover of about $15m (9.4m) this year. The agency turned in a small loss last year, caused by the cost of establishing offices in Hamburg, Helsinki and Oslo.

Jeff Dachis, president of razorfish, becomes chief executive officer of the combined agency, which will continue to operate under its established razorfish banner in the US.

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