Havas Group has announced the acquisition of Front Networks, an independent advertising agency focusing on social and digital marketing in China.
Front Networks has more than 200 people in Beijing and Shanghai offices. It provides "a full range" of digital marketing services and boasts more than 200 international clients including BMW, Rolls-Royce, Vivo, Microsoft, Columbia, Casarte, Bank of China and Nestlé.
Front Networks will maintain its name and be integrated into the Havas Creative network and Havas Village.
Yannick Bolloré, chairman and CEO of Havas Group, said “China has always been of strategic importance” to Havas. “China is evolving and diversifying at a rapid pace, presenting us with many opportunities for growth," he added. "By partnering with the best there is to offer in China, Havas Group will surely create more meaningful moments and value for all our clients, consumers, brands and communities.”
“By joining Havas, Front Networks will have access to our world-class tools and systems, strong financial resources, and global networking connections,” Karl Wu, chairman and CEO of Havas Group Greater China, told Campaign Asia-Pacific.
Founded in 2004, Front Networks has expertise in timely and effective digital storytelling, creating engaging digital content and channel mapping, Wu said. He added that Front Networks and Havas Group have “a natural chemistry match”, because Felix Teng, the founder and CEO of Front Networks, spent his high school and college years in France, before he returned to China and founded the company.
Teng said he feels “pride in having been recognised by Havas”. "With the group’s resources and empowering tools, we will be able to broaden our horizon, extend our solutions and add scale to the depth of our services,” he said.
Wu said it takes time to screen and identify a really good prospect company to work with, and the pandemic did cause some extra effort. But with Front Networks’ proven business strength, agility and adaptability during China’s digital emergence and evolution, Havas Group China has more to offer to its clients, he said.
Havas Group said acquiring Front Networks is part of a global M&A strategy. So far this year, Havas has acquired Paris-based MedEd specialist Raison de Santé into Havas Health & You; integrated Tinkle, a PR and communications agency present in Spain and Portugal, into the AMO network; brought Inviqa, one of the UK’s leading independent digital experience agencies, into Havas CX. In APAC markets, earlier in March, Havas Group took a majority interest in Frontier Australia, a performance-marketing agency, which will continue using its brand locally and join Havas Edge Performance Network (EPN).