Dentsu agrees to buy Aegis for £3.2bn

Japanese marketing group Dentsu has agreed to buy UK-based Aegis Group for £3.2bn, which handles clients including General Motors, Vodafone and Nivea, as it looks to expand outside its home market.


The deal is the biggest in Dentsu’s 111 year history and will see the combined advertising network become the biggest in Western Europe, “with the fastest growing agency network in the US”, the companies said in a statement.

Aegis is comprised of Carat, Postercope, Vizeum, Isobar and iProspect.

Dentsu said in a statement that the deal will “create a new global communications network for the digital age focused on delivering best-in-class brand, media, digital and marketing services through a fully-integrated and scaleable platform.”

The Japanese business, which generated almost 90% of its annual revenue from Asia last year, will become the world’s largest independent buyer of advertising space. Earlier this year, Aegis was appointed to manage media buying for the world’s third largest advertiser General Motors in a deal worth $3bn, the biggest win in the company’s history.

Dentsu recently ended a nine-year alliance with European rival Publicis after the French business bought back a 9.1% stake in February. The decision freed the business up to make another deal in Europe.

The company also announced plans to rebrand its European operations with the namesake of its stateside agency McGarryBowen, which it acquired in 2008.

Aegis has long been seen as a potential acquisition for some of the bigger advertising groups and has been linked to the French network Havas in past years.

In March Aegis said it expected to outperform rivals this year after a record number of new client wins helped it to beat its 2011 revenue targets.

Aegis chief executive, Jerry Buhlmann says, “We at Aegis are delighted at the prospect of being able to play a full part in helping Dentsu create a platform for global growth and continued digital innovation. We have complementary geographic fits and aligned visions and strategies.”

The deal comes during a period of increased takeover activity in the sector after Publicis Groupe purchased creative agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty and WPP purchased digital business AKQA.

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