Business consultancy Gate One bought by creative agency Havas

12 December 2019 Consultancy.uk

Creative agency Havas has sought to diversify its offering to clients with the acquisition of Gate One. The consulting firm specialises in helping clients execute digital transformation projects, a lucrative area of business which Havas will hope to tap via a holistic marketing and transformation offering.

For some time now, the consulting industry has viewed the creative space as rich pickings, as firms look to grow their revenues by expanding into new service offerings. In recent years, this has seen a glut of advertising and marketing firms bought up by consultancies, with the most famous examples coming from the mass-acquisition campaigns of Deloitte and Accenture respectively. This has proven to be a major concern for long-term market incumbents such as WPP, who have struggled as the newcomers have eaten into their market share.

In a rare reversal of roles, however, creative agency Havas has confirmed its purchase of business consultancy Gate One for an undisclosed fee. The show of intent from the marketing giant sees Havas park tanks on the lawn of the consulting industry, with the ambition to evolve from its core business to a professional services firm capable of providing integrated creative and consulting services.

Havas acquires Gate One

Havas CEO Yannick Bolloré said of the deal, “Investing in the consultancy space is a bold move that has the potential to unlock huge growth for our Group in the UK and beyond. Meaningfulness is at the core of everything we do at Havas so it is really exciting to find a business like Gate One which truly speaks our language. I’d like to welcome the team on board.”

Gate One is an international consultancy providing transformational advisory services to clients looking to solve multi-sector strategic challenges. The business counts many large, ambitious organisations among its client base, both in the UK and abroad. As well specialising in digital and organisational change projects, the award-winning firm also hosts a strong incubator wing.

The 70 employees of Gate One will join the Havas Village campus, located in London’s King's Cross, in early 2020. However, the firm will reportedly retain its name and management. The deal is expected to furnish Havas with new capabilities and a significantly expanded presence, at a time when it is having to keep pace with competitors at home and abroad engaging in aggressive expansion projects of their own.

It follows an acquisition by Havas in September, when the firm strengthened its Indian presence with the purchase of digital agency Langoor.

Chris Hirst, a leader at Havas in the UK, commented, “We have been searching for the right kind of business that can bring something completely new. Gate One are a best in class business that will add significant new capabilities and strengthen those we already have.”

Gate One CEO Tim Phillips added, “Our clients and the broader market are increasingly telling us that they need integrated digital, marketing and business transformation services and it was obvious when we met the team at Havas that we had found our future home.”


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