Dentsu Aegis buys Oxyma Group and integrates the agency into Merkle

23 November 2017 3 min. read
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Advertising and creative giant Dentsu Aegis has acquired Oxyma Group, an omnichannel specialist agency in the Netherlands and Dubai. As part of the deal, which sees 340 employees join Dentsu Aegis Network, Oxyma Group will be rebranded as Merkle, and its five subsidiary agencies as a Merkle company.

With labels such as Achtung!, Carat, Dentsu, Merkle, Isobar, iProspect and Social Embassy, Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) is one of the globe’s larger media, digital and creative communications services.

The company, headquartered in London, has been on a strong growth trajectory in recent years. In 2014 the group employed just over 23,000 people. Today, the firm employs over 38,000 professionals. Its rapid growth has been fuelled by an aggressive M&A strategy. In recent months alone, Dentsu Aegis acquired Gleam Futures and Aquila Insight in the UK, Studio Kraftwerk in the Netherlands, FoxP2 in South Africa, Novus in Singapore, Outfox in Sweden, SesliHarfler in Turkey and Accordant in Australia.

The firm’s M&A spree continued yesterday, when Julius Minnaar, CEO of Dentsu Aegis in the Netherlands, unveiled that the agency has acquired Oxyma Group, a Dutch agency that works for large clients such as Air France, KLM, Audi, Liberty Global, Unilever, and Vodafone. Launched in 2000, Oxyma now has offices in Rotterdam (headquarters), Amsterdam and Breda, as well as a location in Dubai. Its growth has accelerated rapidly since 2015, when private equity firm Nordian Capital took a majority interest in the company. Leveraging the financial muscle that the deal provided, Oxyma ramped up its footprint through organic growth and the acquisitions of four local Dutch players: aFrogleap, Oogst Online, OFS en Your Social.

We are merkle“We are very proud to acquire Oxyma,” said Minnaar, adding that the joining of forces will enhance the prospects of its business in the Dutch market, “ensuring we continue to deliver outstanding work for our clients in digital media, nationally and internationally.”

Integration into Merkle

The integration will see all 340 employees of Oxyma Group join Merkle, which is Dentsu Aegis’s data-driven, technology-enabled CRM and performance marketing agency. Merkle was established as a business unit in August last year, when Dentsu Aegis purchased a majority stake in US-headquartered Merkle. Financial details of the deal were not announced. At the time of signing, Merkle employed 3,400 colleagues in 21 offices (of which 16 were in the US), who together generated $436 million in revenues.

The five labels of Oxyma Group will continue to operate under their own brands, with ‘a Merkle company’ added to their tageline, while Oxyma Group will rebrand as Merkle.

“Merkle is a perfect fit for us,” said Jos van Loo, CEO of Oxyma Group and now the Countryl Leader of Merkle Netherlands. “They understand the importance of what Oxyma does – helping large enterprises with digital transformations and unlocking customer value. We are very excited about the new capabilities our combined organisations are going to be able to offer our clients.” The move, he added, will significantly bolster Merkle’s EMEA business across paid, owned, and earned media, particularly in the media, telecommunications, retail, travel & leisure, utility, CPG, financial services and automotive industries.

The sale did come earlier than expected, admitted Van Loo, as Oxyma was still well within the strategic plan stipulated by Nordian Capital. However, the two parties could not have wished for a better deal and cultural fit, which proved decisive in giving green light to the transaction.

David Williams, CEO of Merkle, described Oxyma as a “tremendous addition to Merkle and Dentsu Aegis Network”, and highlighted success in the Dutch agency market as “critically important in executing” the firm’s mission of extending Merkle’s footprint across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Other businesses of Dentsu Aegis in the Netherlands include advertising agency Achtung!, creative agency Studio Kraftwerk and design agency Isobar.