Global ad giant Interpublic has bought Profero for an undisclosed sum, merging the digital network with Lowe and Partners to create a new agency Lowe Profero.
The addition will boost the Lowe network to over 5,000 employees around the world. The Profero agency is most known for client work such as the successful Smirnoff Night Life Exchange for Diageo.
Despite Lowe Profero’s new place across Lowe’s global network, the shop will continue to operate on one P&L and focus on building its operations in New York, London, China, Australia and Singapore.
Profero Global CEO Wayne Arnold will continue to oversee the shop and remain in the top role for at least three years.
Profero clients include Unilever, ASOS, Diageo and Western Union, some of which are shared with Lowe and Partners.
Michael Roth, chairman and CEO of Interpublic, said: “Embedding digital talent and capabilities throughout our organisation has been a key strategic priority for IPG. With the launch of Lowe Profero, Michael Wall and Tony Wright, along with Wayne, are putting that approach into action.
“The opportunities for the new network are tremendous. Coming into this deal, both agencies bring exceptional operations in high – growth markets; they have a strong track record of successful collaboration on major digital assignments; and the leadership teams have great chemistry with one another that clients can feel.”
Michael Wall said: “This is a major development for Lowe and Partners and builds on our recent momentum with the successful introduction of Lowe Campbell Ewald in the U.S and the opening of a new office in NY.
“In launching Lowe Profero, we are significantly enhancing our global digital capabilities – a critical step that will drive forward our strategy of building a contemporary and creatively differentiated network for our clients.”
Wayne Arnold added: “We have invested a lot of time and thought into bringing this new network to fruition. We know each other well, we work together seamlessly and we both believe in and understand the benefits of a complementary and integrated advertising and digital offering.
“Digital sits at the core of all future advertising. That’s what Lowe Profero will deliver globally for our clients, giving us a highly relevant and distinctive position in the agency network market.”
Results International, advised on the deal. Results’ Andy Collins, senior partner at Results commented on the prospects for Lowe Profero.
“As one of the few remaining major independent international digital agencies, Profero is an obvious target for any buyer looking to build its global digital capabilities.
“It has extensive multi-region capabilities, including key markets such as the US and Asia. It was one of the first western digital players to enter the Chinese market and the agency’s senior management has demonstrated huge commitment to growing its business in Asia. It is highly respected for its growth – particularly impressive when you consider most of it is organic – and for the quality of its management team and the ‘Profero way’ of thinking.
“If you look at some of the recent big deals in the sector, they’ve been driven by client synergy as well as capability. BlueFocus cited this when it acquired We Are Social at the end of 2013 and this Profero-Lowe deal is no exception, with both parties sharing the Unilever account.
“But what really makes the deal attractive for Lowe is Profero’s joined-up approach and global scale. With so many M&A deals in marcoms these days being about a larger buyer acquiring a niche business, it’s still vital for the networks to be able to seize whole new markets and technologies with a single, large-scale acquisition.
“So, what does this mean for the mainly smaller digital agencies with much less scale that remain? Without global capabilities we will see them working to forge partnerships and alliances, both formal and informal of a kind that will allow them to compete for the big international briefs that would otherwise remain out of their reach.”