In case you haven’t heard, IPG-owned Lowe & Partners has acquired global digital agency Profero, which will now be known as Lowe Profero and led by global CEO, Wayne Arnold. One of the advisors on the deal is Results International, whose senior partner Andy Collins offers this comment below. Terms of the deal were no disclosed, but Arnold offers this statement: “This is an important and exciting next step for both of our teams. We have invested a lot of time and thought into bringing this new network to fruition. We know each other well, we work together seamlessly and we both believe in and understand the benefits of a complementary and integrated advertising and digital offering. Digital sits at the core of all future advertising. That’s what Lowe Profero will deliver globally for our clients, giving us a highly relevant and distinctive position in the agency network market.”
“As one of the few remaining major independent international digital agencies, Profero is an obvious target for any buyer looking to build its global digital capabilities.
It has extensive multi-region capabilities, including key markets such as the US and Asia. It was one of the first western digital players to enter the Chinese market and the agency’s senior management has demonstrated huge commitment to growing its business in Asia. It is highly respected for its growth – particularly impressive when you consider most of it is organic – and for the quality of its management team and the ‘Profero way’ of thinking.
If you look at some of the recent big deals in the sector, they’ve been driven by client synergy as well as capability. BlueFocus cited this when it acquired We Are Social at the end of 2013 and this Profero-Lowe deal is no exception, with both parties sharing the Unilever account.
But what really makes the deal attractive for Lowe is Profero’s joined-up approach and global scale. With so many M&A deals in marcoms these days being about a larger buyer acquiring a niche business, it’s still vital for the networks to be able to seize whole new markets and technologies with a single, large-scale acquisition.
So, what does this mean for the mainly smaller digital agencies with much less scale that remain? Without global capabilities we will see them working to forge partnerships and alliances, both formal and informal of a kind that will allow them to compete for the big international briefs that would otherwise remain out of their reach.