To meet growing client demands for digital capabilities, TargetCast:tcm, a New York-based independent media agency, has acquired i-shop Triumph360 of Stamford, Conn.
The agreement was disclosed to staffers today, along with the fact that the Triumph team will relocate to the Manhattan offices of TargetCast, which has annual billings of more than $500 million.
Triumph, founded two years ago by Jordan McGrath Case and imc2 veteran Steve Minichini, counts marketers such as Pizza Hut, angina drug Ranexa and Beauty Bank (a unit of Estee Lauder) among its clients. Billings total $20 million.
Commenting on the deal, TargetCast CEO Steve Farella said, “Everything has gone digital. We, like the rest of the traditional media agency world, spend most of our money on traditional media, but every traditional media has a digital aspect to it. Acquiring Triumph360 will give us increased capabilities in display, search, mobile and social media. And not just in media [buying and planning], but creative as well.”
Most of the holding companies have significantly bulked up their digital prowess, and analysts said they expect to see more boutique digital shops acquired by both smaller and larger traditional media agencies.
“I think there is tension in the model right now with the stand-alone digital offering, and I think we are going to see more combinations,” said Peter Stabler, advertising analyst at Credit Suisse. “Because it’s no longer just static display and search. The Web is multimedia now and the lines are really blurring between traditional and digital media.”
Daniel Salmon, advertising analyst at BMO Capital Markets, agreed: “I don’t think it stops anytime soon.” Increasingly, he said, traditional shops will shift to automated-trading models, and digital firms have the technology platforms to help facilitate that shift.
TargetCast declined to say what it paid for Triumph360, although Farella confirmed that the deal was a mix of cash and stock, giving Minichini a “significant” equity stake in TargetCast along with himself and shop co-founder Audrey Siegel. Farella, the former CEO of Havas’ MPG, and Siegel set up TargetCast eight years ago and count 1-800-Flowers.com, Expedia and New York Life among their clients.
With the addition of the 12 Triumph360 employees, TargetCast will have 80 staffers. With Triumph in the fold, Farella will assume the title of chairman while retaining his CEO stripes. Siegel adds the title of president and continues to oversee client services. Minichini becomes president of interactive services. Phil Sloan, who has overseen TargetCast’s digital efforts, now reports to Minichini.
Minichini and Farella have known each other for nearly 20 years. At Jordan McGrath Case, Minichini was one of the shop’s first digital specialists and reported to Farella. After 10 years, he left for Dallas-based imc2, where he launched that i-shop’s New York and Philadelphia offices before leaving to start Triumph in early 2008.
“When we started TargetCast we used imc2 as our digital arm and they did a terrific job,” said Farella. “When Steve left there to start Triumph, I knew we had to find a way to bring him in and work with him.”