2016 is shaping up as a busy year for Dentsu Aegis Network on the mergers and acquisitions front.
This week alone, the Tokyo-based holding company made three notable agency deals. In doing so, Dentsu has bolstered its digital offerings across several continents and positioned itself as the most aggressive player of late in the industry's global expansion game.
On Friday, the company buttressed its Isobar division in Latin America through the acquisition of Flock, a 140-person full-service digital agency based in Mexico City. Formed in 2009, Flock ranks among the region's top interactive shops, with clients including American Express, Coca-Cola, Dominos Pizza and Jose Cuervo. Moving forward, operations will be rebranded as the somewhat unwieldy "Flock - linked by Isobar."
Julio Castellanos, CEO of Dentsu in Mexico, said Flock's technical and creative prowess make it a welcome addition to Isobar, which is already a force in the region. Flock chief executive Sebastian Tonda added, "With this partnership, Flock will empower its talent, clients and ideas through a global network that is aligned with our purpose and vision."
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Earlier this week, the company acquired Adexpres Group, owner of several digital ad firms in Eastern Europe, and data consultancy Cardinal Path, based in Chicago and Vancouver.
Since the year began, Dentsu closed on the acquisitions of creative agency Achtung in the Netherlands, sports marketer Alesport Group in Spain, data marketer Navegg in Brazil and full-service shop Grip in Canada. In addition, the company recently reformatted much of its global B2B offering as Interprise, a new agency network based in London.
In terms of broader strategy, Jerry Buhlmann, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network, supplied this brief statement to Adweek:
"We remain focused on supporting the digital needs of our clients by building capability and scale as a digital economy business. Our acquisitions, including 34 last year, serve to accelerate this strategy, which is further supported by growing organically through hiring and retaining leading talent. This week's acquisitions of Cardinal Path, Flock and Adexpres represent another step towards achieving our digital ambitions."
If nothing else, the moves should help the company compete more effectively in specific sectors against larger rivals such as WPP, Omnicom and Publicis Groupe.
The latter is viewed by some as a takeover target due to troubles. Research analysts at Natixis in Paris recently said Dentsu would make a logical suitor for Publicis should the French holding company put itself up for sale.