Photon Acquires Naked

NEW YORK Photon Group of Sydney, Australia, has acquired London-based communications planning specialist Naked Communications for slightly more than $33 million, plus deferred payments tied to performance targets, the companies have confirmed.

Naked was founded in 2000 and now has operations in eight countries, including offices in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Oslo, Norway, Paris, Tokyo and New York.

M.T. Carney, Paul Woolmington and Neal Davies founded the U.S. operation two years ago.

The shop made headlines in the U.S. last summer when it won the biggest piece of Johnson & Johnson’s North American communications planning account, for brands including Aveeno, Neutrogena and Listerine. The award came after a four-month review of J&J’s $3 billion global media business.

Other U.S. clients include Coca-Cola, Kimberly-Clark, Nike, American Express, Coty and Lugz.

Photon is a specialist marketing services company comprised of five divisions, including strategic intelligence, integrated communications, Internet marketing and communications, and specialized communications.

Commenting on the deal in a statement, Photon executive chairman Tim Hughes said the Naked team was “entrepreneurial, fiercely independent and challenge conventional thinking, making them a natural fit for Photon. We have a common philosophy that marketing services and communications advice should be media neutral, unbiased, freethinking and relevant.”

Nigel Long, CEO of Naked, said the acquisition by Photon would allow the shop to continue to “pursue our vision, backed by the resources of the wider group.”