WPP has agreed to acquire Quirk, Africa’s largest independently owned digital marketing agency in a move to continue its strategy of developing its services in fast-growing and important markets and sectors and strengthening its capabilities in digital media.
Quirk was founded by CEO Rob Stokes in 1999, and began life as a digital agency and is now Africa’s largest independent marketing agency group with a formidable portfolio of local and international clients.
According to WPP CEO, Sir Martin Sorrell, “WPP has been watching Quirk for a while and we feel strongly that now is the right time for us to join forces. As a group, Quirk has demonstrated consistent growth and creativity way above the market in both South Africa and the UK, and we look forward to helping them bring their unique brand of insight and innovation to our global client base.”
With over US$6 billion in digital revenues in 2013, a 35% of the WPP Group’s total revenues of US$17.3 billion, the firm says it has set a target of 40-45% of revenue to be derived from digital in the next five years.
Quirk helps its clients such as Distell, Capitec Bank, Woolworths, Caltex and Tyco to adapt and win in an ever-changing digitally-enabled world and has five agencies across Africa and in London employing over 200 people. The firm made approximately ZAR 140 million in revenues by February this year and has assets worth nearly ZAR 68 million.
Though the deal is subject to approval, WPP’s move will help it take on Omnicom and Publicis $35 billion merger as Quirk is Africa’s largest independently owned digital marketing agency.