Campaign Report: adam&eveDDB Shareholders Made a Shit-Ton of Money in Sale to Omnicom

By Erik Oster 

Industry sources told Campaign that adam&eve founders James MurphyDavid GoldingBen Priest and Jon Forsyth, who collectively owned 85 percent of the shares in the agency, earned a massive payout for the agency’s sale to Omnicom, following a five-year, uncapped earn-out period during which the agency outperformed expectations.

Collectively, the earn-out netted adam&eve shareholders some £85 million, around $122 million. In addition to the £25.2 million at the time of the sale, that comes out to a total of £110 million, or around $145 million, roughly $4 million more than the Kansas City Royals’ opening day payroll.

According to Campaign, the earn-out’ scale “makes the agency one of the most financially successful, creative UK start-ups of the past decade.”

Upon the agency’s sale in 2012, Campaign predicted the earn-out would net adam&eve shareholders around £60m, but the earn-out “liability” rose well above estimations, including “by as much as £35m in the final 12 months,” according to the publication.

The agency is, of course, best-known for its John Lewis Christmas spots. Following the 2012 sale, adam&eve kept picking up new accounts, including Samsung, Virgin Atlantic, Waitrose and Lloyds Banking Group. Last year, adam&eveDDB also launched a Super Bowl spot for Skittles and a Wes Anderson-directed holiday spot for H&M.

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