Updated: WPP Group Acquires Blue State Digital

The digital agency behind President Barack Obama’s wildly successful grassroots fundraising campaign leading up the 2008 election has been acquired by ad-holding company WPP Group, both parties confirmed today.

Word of the deal leaked out Wednesday.

In addition to the Obama campaign, Blue State has worked for a wide array of media companies, and cultural and charitable organizations, including HBO, Hearst, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the American Red Cross and Carnegie Hall. According to Sky News, the agency, which is based in Washington, D.C. (with offices in New York, Boston, London and Los Angeles), has also worked for former U.K. prime minister Tony Blair.

But it was the agency’s work on the “Obama for America” digital campaign for which it is best known, and the firm is credited with helping then-candidate Obama raise hundreds of millions of dollars, mobilizing the youth vote and eventually winning the election.

In its release confirming the purchase, WPP said Blue State has raised $800 million for various causes since it was founded in 2004. On its Web site Blue State claims that $500 million was raised for the Obama campaign.

For WPP and its subsidiaries, December has been an acquisitive month. Purchases have included a leading digital shop in Asia (via ad shop Grey); a majority stake in a Turkish public relations firm (via Hill & Knowlton); and just yesterday, the purchase of a major market research company in Africa (via research arm Kantar). The Blue State deal was made through WPP Digital.