WPP acquires The Group in communications merger

Aug 21, 2013
<p>Communications agencies Addison and The Group to form new, digital-focused entity</p>

Online corporate communications firm The Group has been acquired by global advertising and PR company WPP, leading to the creation of a new consultancy.

The Group will be merged with WPP’s own agency, Addison, in order to create what will be known as the Addison Group. The resulting consultancy will employ around 120 people and have an estimated revenue of £12mn ($18.8mn).

The newly created group will remain in London and retain many of the two previous firms’ existing clients, including BASF, Heineken, Prudential, Tesco and Unilever.

A release on The Group’s blog, however, emphasizes that the Addison Group will be a ‘pan-European’ venture, providing a range of services which include research, consultancy, website hosting and design, and other online services.

The Group’s founder, Mark Hill, will oversee the combined entity as chairman while working alongside Tom Robinson, currently CEO at Addison.

‘This is a new agency to meet the needs of corporate communicators today, the fist of its kind,’ says Hill. ‘By combining these market-leading businesses, we are reacting to the needs of our clients, who are asking for integrated communications solutions which offer demonstrated value for money and high creativity across all channels and audiences.’

The move comes as part of WPP’s larger efforts to invest in digital agencies, and particularly those in fast-growing markets, following the merger of its rivals Onicom and Publicis in July.

Brand Republic reports this week that digital agency XM Asia – part of WPP’s JWT network – has bought a majority stake in Designercity, a digital consultancy based in Hong Kong. Elsewhere, WPP’s data investment management business Kantar has bought a minority stake in SecondSync, a firm that analyses social media conversations about TV programs to provide insights for media planners.

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