MDC Partners-Owned Instrument Leads Deal to Acquire Brooklyn’s This Also

Expanding the Portland agency's footprint to New York

This Also will be folded into the Portland shop. Instrument

Struggling ad agency network MDC Partners announced the acquisition of This Also, a digital brand and product innovation studio in Brooklyn, for an undisclosed amount. The deal was led by Instrument, the Portland agency that MDC owned a 51 percent stake in as of last April.

This Also, a 14-person agency founded in 2013, will be folded into the Portland shop and emerge as Instrument New York. Instrument said it had identified the opportunity to combine forces with This Also, which allows it to expand to New York and combine certain clients, including Nike and Google, the two agencies already share.

Instrument CEO Justin Lewis said in a statement that expanding to New York has been “core to our five-year vision and our 2019 strategic plan.”

“By establishing on the East Coast, we grow our ability to impact our clients and reach a diverse and rich talent pool,” Lewis said. “We have always been incredibly thoughtful about who we hire and the organizations we partner with. We were thrilled to connect with a company like This Also that so closely aligns with our organizational values and multiplies our service offering depth and quality.”

The 14-person This Also team.

According to the companies, talks between Instrument and This Also began last year. Instrument said it identified common clients, capabilities and services, making it ideal to have the small Brooklyn shop “operate as a new team” within its agency, which is home to more than 200 designers, engineers, producers, strategists and content creators.

“We’re inspired by the way Instrument weaves their values directly into the fabric of their business,” Becky Morrow, executive director at Instrument New York, said in a statement. “Our shared sense of responsibility to our clients and our mutual commitment to supporting our teams in their career growth are both at the heart of this partnership.”

Morrow previously was partner and managing director of This Also. The agency’s other two leaders, founder and creative director Brian Baker and partner and creative director Brett Bergeron, will now be executive creative director and executive strategy director, respectively, at Instrument New York.

In a statement on its website, This Also said it will “continue” to work with its existing clients while serving as the “foundation for Instrument’s New York office.”

The acquisition comes at an interesting time for MDC, which owns agencies such as Anomaly, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, 72andSunny, Assembly, Doner and Forsman & Bodenfors. The network, which is more than $1 billion in debt, is currently undergoing a process to sell itself, with final bidders, including Accenture, vying for the company.

Certain of MDC’s agencies, including 72andSunny and Doner, have since tried buying themselves back, but its board of directors rejected those offers.

@kitten_mouse Lindsay Rittenhouse is a staff writer at Adweek, where she specializes in covering the world of agencies and their clients.