Kantar Consulting buys London firm Mash

23 January 2018 Consultancy.uk

Top advertising group WPP began the year with the formal launch of its unified consulting wing, Kantar Consulting. Now, as the firm prepares to take on the consulting industry, which has increasingly encroached on the advertising sphere recently, Kantar has completed the purchase of UK-based Mash Strategy.

Including associates and investments, WPP’s data investment management companies collectively generate global revenues of approximately US$4.5 billion, while employing around 33,000 people. In the UK, WPP companies and associates generate revenues of approximately US$3 billion and employ nearly 17,000 people. Now, as WPP has prioritised a new approach of aggressive investment to beat off new competition, the group’s consulting wing looks to be going on the offensive.

The top players of the advertising industry have seen their revenue streams come under mounting pressure in recent months, thanks to large consulting firms making designs on their market share. In recent months, this has seen heavyweights such as Deloitte and Accenture buying up smaller agencies to strengthen their own design offerings. At the turn of the year, however, advertising giant WPP has primed its consulting wing, Kantar Consulting, to take the fight to the consulting sector, paralleling the tactics of the consulting industry, to acquire an up-and-coming mid-tier consulting firm.

Kantar Consulting buys London firm Mash

Kantar Consulting was forged from the merger of four existing WPP brands – Kantar Added Value, Kantar Futures, Kantar Vermeer and Kantar Retail – and the consolidated practice has begun unified life on the front foot, with the acquisition of Mash Strategy. The purchase of the London-based brand strategy and growth consultancy will Mash’s multi-disciplinary team of over 25 employees join Kantar Consulting in New York and London, bringing an assortment of integrated consulting service expertise to the new firm, along with access to a major client base that includes the likes of Johnson & Johnson, Samsung, Unilever, Cancer Research UK, and PepsiCo.

Mash was established in 2010, when founders Conrad Pearson and Jonathan Williams teamed up to create a Strategy Studio aimed at helping brands take a more entrepreneurial approach to brand growth. Having grown their team at their Regent Street, London HQ, the group recently added a New York office to its global offering, and as part of Kantar, Mash will hope it will be able to continue its own global expansion efforts.

Bart Michels, leader of the Brand and Marketing practice for Kantar Consulting in Europe, said, “We see great potential in adding Mash’s creative storytelling and data integration skills to our existing capabilities. Our investment in Mash will bring real value to our respective and shared clients. Building on the launch of Kantar Consulting earlier this week, this investment illustrates our determination to rewrite the rules of demand and help switch on growth for our clients.”

Mash Chief Executive Officer, Conrad Persons, added, "Kantar Consulting’s investment provides us with more opportunity to scale our impact, both geographically and in offer development terms to help take our core proposition to the next level. We have always been a company who work with the broadest ecosystem of partners, and today’s news is a natural extension of that strategy. We see big growth opportunities in working closely with all Kantar businesses.”

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