Matthew Miller
Dec 20, 2017

The year's biggest APAC marketing-advertising acquisitions

Our listicle-based look back at the year in APAC marketing and communications continues, with the biggest deals of the year.

The year's biggest APAC marketing-advertising acquisitions

In the last couple weeks before the holidays, we're taking a look back at 2017—listicle style. Today, we look at the five the biggest acquisitions of the year, according to R3. Plus, we pick our own top-five list of the acquisitions that got the most notice in the industry. In some cases R3's list and ours overlap; in others they don't.

For the record, here's R3's official list...

Acquiring company Acquisition Agency type Date Status Staff City (HQ)
Bain Capital ASATSU-DK (ADK) Creative December 12 Acquired 1000-5000 Tokyo
Shenzhen Media Group (SZMG) BEHE Adtech Solution (璧合科技) Digital Service April 18 Acquired major stake 53 Beijing
Olympus Capital Asia Yuanyu Radio (China) Co. Ltd (远誉广告) Media August 9 Acquired controlling stake 101 - 250 Shanghai
Hakuhodo DY Holdings Integrated Communications Group Others February 7 Acquired 450 Singapore
Guangdong Advertising Group Co Ltd Shanghai Tuochang (上海拓畅) Digital Service May 24 Acquired major stake Unavailable Shanghai
Accenture The Monkeys + MAUD Creative May 7 Acquired 130 Sydney

And here's our selections....

1. ADK completes deal to sell to Bain Capital

The year's biggest deal also generated the most ink, by a significant margin. Bain Capital successfully acquired the shares needed to take over Asatsu-DK (ADK) in December following a tense period during which WPP, ADK’s largest shareholder, objected to the bid, threatened legal action, accused Bain of undervaluing the company, intimated that ADK management had been incompetent, and finally accepted the sale after some apparent back-channel conversation. The sale marks the first time a US private-equity firm has bought a Japanese advertising company. We covered every back and every forth in the ADK-WPP fight.

2. DAN acquires Indonesia's Dwi Sapta Group

In January, Dentsu Aegis Network agreed to acquire Dwi Sapta Group, Indonesia’s largest independent advertising and media network. Founded in 1981, the group had more than 400 staff across two media agencies, Dwi Sapta Media and Main Media, two creative agencies, Dwi Sapta IMC and Main Ad, a digital agency, Inexus, a PR agency, Dwi Sapta PR and an activation agency, Bee Activator.

DAN added more assets in Indonesia in December by buying performance agency Valuklik (for iProspect). Elsewhere, DAN acquired Grant Group in Sri Lanka, bought New Zealand agency Little Giant (for Isobar), added With Collective to the Isobar Australia Group and launched Merkle in APAC by taking over Sokrati.

3. Accenture buys The Monkeys

In its 12th acquisition globally since 2013, Accenture Interactive bought the Australia shop, which had 130 employees. The region's sixth-biggest deal, according to R3, had an impact second only to the ADK-Bain deal in terms of industry discussion. Michael Buckley, head of Accenture Interactive Australia and New Zealand said Accenture Interactive wants to be the world's "number one customer experience business" and needed The Monkeys to achieve it. "We’re now part creative, part consultant and part technology, and we can take that to clients as a new solution," he said.

In other agency buys by consulting groups this year, McKinsey & Co acquired Malaysia's VLT Labs in September.

4. Singtel's Amobee acquires Turn

Singtel-owned Amobee's acquisition of DMP (data-management platform) and DSP (demand-side platform) company Turn, announced in February and completed in April, aimed to form what the company called "one of the largest, independent, end-to-end" buy-side platforms, providing access to all programmatic channels, formats and devices. The acquisition valued Silicon Valley-based Turn at US$310 million. Singtel said the purchase brought its total investment in Amobee to more than $1 billion (including $321 million for Amobee in 2012, plus $235 million for Adconion and $150 million for Kontera in 2014).

5. Havas Group acquires BD Australia, India-based health agency Sorento, and Mr Smith in New Zealand

Not one to splash out on massive acquisitions, Havas made a series of strategic investments early in the year: creative agency Mr Smith in March (which became Havas New Zealand), shopper-marketing outfit BD Australia (pictured), also in March, and healthcare-communications agency Sorento in May (to integrate with Havas Health & You India and rebrand as Havas Life Sorento).

Also notable:

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