Infosys wants in on the Accenture equation.
Today, the information technology company announced that it has agreed to acquire 25-year-old Seattle-based creative agency Wongdoody. While the press release did not disclose specifics of the deal, reports from India, where Infosys is headquartered, listed its total value at $75 million including contingent consideration and retention payouts to agency partners.
The deal will close during the first quarter of fiscal year 2019, and a Wongdoody representative said the agency will retain its executive leadership team and full-time staff. Law firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed served as lead legal advisor to the acquirer.
At a press briefing, Infosys CEO and managing director Salil Parekh positioned the move as part of an ongoing “digital scale up” by which the Bengaluru-based company seeks to strengthen its “creative, branding and customer experience capabilities.”
“Joining forces with Infosys gives us the power to implement our creativity in ways that weren’t possible before. It’s a great honor for us to complete a true end-to-end Infosys engagement offering,” said Tracy Wong, who co-founded Wongdoody in 1993 after working as an art director at agencies, including Ogilvy and Goodby Silverstein & Partners. The agency also currently maintains an office in Los Angeles.
The deal resembles other recent, unusual moves, like Deloitte’s acquisition of Heat and South Korea-based Cheil Worldwide’s 2012 acquisition of creative agency McKinney, in that the parent companies in question are looking to break into markets in which they have not previously maintained a notable presence.
Wongdoody will now essentially become part of the Infosys Digital Studios division.
Infosys, along with competitors like Tata and Wipro, was long known for providing call center and outsourcing services. But these businesses have been encroaching on the sort of “digital transformation” work conducted by Accenture and Deloitte, and this acquisition would appear to be an attempt to provide clients with a more rounded service offering that includes creative campaigns and experience design. It also follows Infosys’ earlier decision to buy London-based design firm Brilliant Basics.
“As our clients grapple with the implications of digital disruption for their brands and customers, joining Infosys gives us instant scale and expertise to leverage data and user experience insights to build brand platforms for the future,” said Wongdoody CEO Ben Wiener, describing the new partnership as “a unique marriage of digital strategy, creative and technology talents to build the agency model that modern CMOs are demanding.”
Wiener told Adweek, “Our brief used to be advertising, or what a brand says. Now, to be effective, we need to be able to impact the consumer experience from end to end, and contribute to what a brand does, not just how it communicates.” He added that Wongdoody will be the only creative agency within Infosys, that it will operate as an independent subsidiary, and that the deal will give his team “access to a deeper set of resources than we could ever build ourselves.”
Wongdoody, which has produced campaigns for Amazon and worked with clients like Alaska Airlines and Papa Murphy’s in the past, has been relatively quiet in recent months. The agency did announce in February that it would launch an in-house consultancy called June Cleaver Is Dead in order to help clients better target working mothers.