WPP’s GroupM has confirmed that it will be acquiring a majority stake in digital agency Essence, as first reported by M&M Global yesterday (3 November).
Essence positions itself as an independent buyer of digital media, with clients including the Financial Times, Google, HP, Viber and Tesco Mobile. It will continue to operate independently under WPP and GroupM.
The acquisition comes as part of WPP’s strategy to invest in fast growth markets like new media, digital, data and tech, with a target of 40-45% of WPP’s revenue to be derived from digital over the next five years.
“The addition of Essence to GroupM represents significant expansion of our digital expertise, particularly with the Google technology stack,” said GroupM chief digital officer Rob Norman. “This is consistent with GroupM’s overall policy of a technology agnostic approach.
“We’re delighted to welcome and begin collaborating with the talented colleagues that come with WPP’s strategic investment in Essence.”
Managing a media spend of over $700m, London-based Essence employs 500 people in the UK, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Singapore and Tokyo.
“Essence has a proud history of using technology, data and transparent media buying to advance the digital advertising industry,” said Essence global chief executive officer Christian Juhl. “We’re proud to work with some of the world’s most advanced clients, running global campaigns across more than 70 markets.
“In GroupM, we have found a partner who shares our vision and augments our capabilities with global scale, access to media that isn’t yet digital and the global partnerships and platforms to further advance our agenda.”