Done Deal: Nitro Acquires N.Y. Shop

NEW YORK Nitro, an up-and-coming independent, has closed its deal to acquire AKA Advertising, a small New York shop dominated by the Foot Locker account, sources said.

Adweek.com was the first to report that the deal was imminent.

AKA and its 70-odd staffers will be absorbed into Nitro. The agency is moving into AKA’s Park Avenue South offices, which once housed Interpublic’s Deutsch.

AKA was named Foot Locker’s lead agency in June 2001. The agency had handled client business on a project basis for the previous two years. AKA works for several divisions of the company, including Kids Foot Locker and Lady Foot Locker. All told, including co-op outlays, the client spends about $30 million annually on ads.

Nitro launched in Shanghai in 2002. The agency’s Asian work on Mars led to a Masterfoods assignment in the U.S. The shop opened a New York outpost in 2004.

Nitro’s London office is a finalist, in tandem with Havas’ Arnold, for the $150 million Volvo business. Publicis Groupe’s Fallon is the other Volvo finalist.

Chris Clarke, the Australian ad exec who is Nitro’s founder and CEO, first forged ties with Mars when he ran his Pure Creative Asia-Pacific network, which he later sold to D’Arcy.

In China, Nitro has also made inroads with marketers like Unilever and InBev. Nitro also operates offices in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia; Hong Kong; and Taipei, Taiwan.

Nitro now looks to expand its footprint in the U.S. through the pending AKA acquisition.

Clarke is a former theater, music video and documentary filmmaker.