Publicis buys digital agency Synergize, merges it with Saatchi & Saatchi SA



Looks like WPP’s not the only big player heating up the South African acquisitions space. Advertising and marketing mega-corp Publicis Groupe today announced that it has completed a 100% acquisition of South African digital agency Synergize.

Under the terms of the deal, Synergize will be integrated into Saatchi & Saatchi South Africa. Saatchi & Saatchi’s At Play digital arm will be absorbed into the new division, which will be renamed Saatchi & Saatchi Synergize.

Shaune Jordaan, CEO of Synergize, will become CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Synergize and Chris Corbet, the co-founder of Synergize, will become Chief Operating Officer. The Synergize staff team of 48 will integrate into the Saatchi & Saatchi offices in both Cape Town and Johannesburg to form a team of 154 professionals.

According to Jordaan, “The combination of Saatchi & Saatchi’s creativity and Synergize’s analytical and measurement aspects will deliver results driven campaigns using extensive reporting tools, and will give Saatchi & Saatchi Synergize a strong competitive edge.”

Justin Billingsley, COO of Saatchi & Saatchi EMEA, says that this acquisition creates a strong integrated creative agency bringing together the two critical halves of the future of marketing communications.

“Synergize are very good at what they do, namely optimising the digital channel so that brands can reach individuals in their audience faster and at lower cost and convert these people to purchase,” he adds. “They play very well in the so-called ‘Big Data’ space that is attracting the attention and spend of our clients. The magic though, is not only in knowing where and how to reach people, but to inspire them with the ideas you have to share.

“This is where the partnership with Saatchi & Saatchi makes this so exciting – ‘Big Data’ meets ‘Big Emotion’ to create a sweet spot of optimal ideas with optimal targeting. We have been working together already on some of our clients and it simply works, integrating the ideas and the digital channel.”

Founded in 1999, Synergize specialises in digital search marketing and offers services including SEO, web and mobile development and pay-per-click (PPC) marketing. Some of Saatchi & Saatchi South Africa’s biggest clients meanwhile include electricity provider Eskom, Cadbury’s and Ariel. As Herman Manson of Marklives notes however, it recently lost the Guinness account in Africa to Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and sister agency Network BBDO.

It’s unclear at this stage exactly how much the acquisition is worth or what the exact terms of the deal are, although it’s believed that Synergize brings in around R20-million in revenue a year.



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