WPP Adds Schematic to Digital Assets

NEW YORK WPP Group made another move to bulk up its digital capabilities with the purchase of interactive shop Schematic.

The Los Angeles-based agency employs about 275 people and works for clients like Disney and NBC Universal. It has offices in New York, Boston, Atlanta and Costa Rica, handling creative, strategy and technology development.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Eight-year-old Schematic will remain an independent entity, operating as part of WPP Digital, but the holding company plans to align it closely with its media buying and planning arm GroupM, home to MediaCom, Mediaedge:cia, MediaCom and Maxus. It plans to use the digital shop to increase its ability to create original content, according to Rob Norman, CEO of GroupM Interaction.

“The digital experience is becoming a key part of consumers’ brand and media usage,” he said in a statement. “Increasingly, our clients will need to create original, useful and engaging content that goes beyond the development of advertising units if they are to create value for their audiences.”

Schematic has deep experience with entertainment brands. For Conde Nast, it recently helped build the company’s teen social networking site Flip.com. In the United Kingdom, it worked with ITV to overhaul its Web destination.

“Some clients view us as their technology partner and others view us as a creative shop,” said Trevor Kaufman, CEO of Schematic. “The best experiences are a combination of form and function, of creative and technology.”

The acquisition is the latest in a string of efforts by WPP to increase the digital expertise of its agencies. In July, it purchased Refinery, a Philadelphia-area Web shop, which became part of Grey’s G2 Worldwide. WPP also paid $649 million for 24/7 Real Media, an ad network and technology company.

Norman and WPP Digital CEO John Reed will join Schematic’s board.