Paul Howell
Jul 20, 2011

Havas takes majority stake in Australian agency Host

SYDNEY - Havas Worldwide has agreed to take a 51 per cent stake in one of Australia's largest independent agencies, Host.

Freedman founded Host in 2000
Freedman founded Host in 2000

The agency, founded by current CEO Anthony Freedman (pictured) in 2000, will continue to operate on its own, but will be able to leverage on Havas' strength for international expansion in the future. Several key Havas executives, including global CEO David Jones, will join the Host board.

Freedman says the tie-up was a good one for both parties. "It felt very much like a meeting of like minds," he told Campaign Asia-Pacific. While it is still "business as usual", the team is "pretty excited about the possibilities" of the partnership. While he says moves overseas were on the cards, there are not yet plans for the "how, where and when" of that expansion.

For its part, Havas says the strategic acquisition will allow it important access to digital markets in Australia and the wider region.

“It’s a very strategic acquisition sitting at the intersection of creativity, digital and Asia-Pacific," Jones said. "They are Australia’s largest independent agency, a brilliant creative agency, totally in line with our 'digital at the core' model – over 30% of their revenue is digital – and after the acquisition of Porda in Hong Kong, this further increases our revenue coming from Asia Pacific.”

Host employs a unique business model, in which the conventional creative department is replaced by a pool of independent creative groups, their selection based on the needs of the clients’ brand or brief.

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