As 2015 nears its end, Campaign Asia-Pacific is reviewing the year by featuring one best-of (or worst-of) list each day. We've got 12 days' worth of the biggest PR disasters, deals, pitches, launches and people moves; the best and worst campaigns; and the oddest stories and quotes we've heard. Click here for all our year-in-review features from not only 2015 but also past years.
Without further ado, here is our list of the year's five biggest deals.
Nikkei’s acquisition of the FT
The US$1.3 billion acquisition of one of the world’s most successful and respected newspapers stunned the media community. There was disbelief from some journalistic quarters, with people pointing to vastly different editorial standards between the two companies. How Nikkei uses the FT remains to be seen, of course. If, as expected by many, it chooses to learn from a publication much more international than itself, it stands to modernise in a way that would not otherwise be possible and that will set it even further ahead of the rest of Japan’s news media.
News Corp’s acquisition of Unruly
Valued at $177 million, News Corp’s move gives Unruly the support it needs to grow. It has important implications for Asia, according to regional MD Phil Townend, because it will make it easier to react to the fast pace of change in terms of consumer adoption as markets at different stages of maturity evolve. Townend was quick to state that Unruly would continue to run autonomously. “This means that we are going to continue our mission to provide high engagement, non-interruptive, user-friendly formats…for advertisers, publishers, agencies and users,” he said in an interview with Campaign in September.
Alibaba’s purchase of AdChina
Alibaba started the year by buying a controlling stake in AdChina. Though a small part of the ecommerce giant’s overall investments, the move was significant in turning itself into a stronger player in the advertising services space and building Alimama, its online marketing technology platform. The next three to five years will be key to building an end-to-end data-driven digital marketing service, which will support merchants operating within Alibaba’s ecosystem.
Buzzfeed’s deal with Yahoo JapanThe partnership certainly had journalists buzzing, and it looks to have very good prospects, although there will doubtless be challenges and a strong need for Buzzfeed to localise. Yahoo remains strong as a news platform in Japan, and has brought foreign entities like KakaoTalk into the market in the past. In an interview with Campaign just after the deal was announced, GroupM Japan’s head of interaction, Shawn Finn, described it as “a perfect co-branding opportunity, as each brings to the table expertise or market presence the other lacks”. Could Buzzfeed be the future of Yahoo in Japan? Time will tell.
GroupM’s acquisition of Essence Digital
It took two years for WPP to finalise the purchase of Essence, which has operations in Singapore and Japan in Asia-Pacific. Buying the London-based independent media-buying agency strengthens GroupM’s digital play as a complementary service to Xaxis (Essence does not use a trading desk). From Essence’s perspective, the agreement allows it to continue to operate as a standalone company but also positions it for growth in Asia. “The global reach of GroupM will absolutely fuel the expansion of Essence in APAC,” Essence’s chief executive Christian Juhl told Campaign. “This won’t just impact the increased support we can provide our global clients on the ground; it will better position us to take on Asia-Pacific-based businesses.”