Surveying the digital M&A landscape a few months ago, WPP Group talked about “some speculative froth” has developing in markets like Brazil, as rival ad holding companies began looking more aggressively at interactive investments. But that doesn’t mean WPP is curtailing its intensive and long-running string of deals: the company has just taken a 70 percent stake in F.biz Ltda., one of Brazil’s largest independent digital ad agencies.
The São Paulo agency was started in 1999 and claims to have grown 50 percent annually since that time. F.biz Ltda employs about 200 staffers and counts marketers such as Unilever and Campari among its clients.
For the past three years, WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell has said that the company would largely be focused on the BRIC countries, which is where the largest ad revenue growth rates are, since the U.S. and European markets are so mature. Still, there have been opportunities here and there in those regions.
But WPP has been very active in Brazil. Just a year ago, WPP acquired two Brazilian digital shops — digital marketer Midia Digital and search marketing house I-Cherry. Around the same time, ad holding company Interpublic Group bought Brazilian digital marketer Cubocc and Publicis purchased a minority stake in São Paulo full service agency Taterka Comunicações.
Terms of the WPP deal were not disclosed. But it’s clearly confident about increasing its already large presence in Brazil, as WPP employs over 4,500 people there, generating revenues of over $693 million. Release