Accenture acquires Karmarama

30 Nov 2016  |  David Pidgeon 
Accenture acquires Karmarama

Accenture has become the first consultancy to make the move into the creative space with the purchase of Karmarama.

The deal, made for an undisclosed sum, will see one of the UK's largest independent creative agencies integrate its experience within Accenture Interactive to offer "connected creativity" to brands.

Based in London, Karmarama's clients include the BBC, Confused.com, Honda, Just Eat and Unilever. The business has a team of 250 employees spanning creatives, digital strategists and data practitioners.

Karmarama's executive chairman Jon Wilkins (pictured), chief executive officer Ben Bilboul, chief strategy officer Sid McGrath and chief creative officer Nik Studzinski will continue in their current roles and take on additional Accenture Interactive leadership positions to drive brand strategy and creativity in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

"Acquiring a creative agency in London, where some of the world's most iconic creative work is produced, will help us reshape how brands imagine, create, and deliver customer experiences," said Brian Whipple, head of Accenture Interactive.

"Karmarama will become part of the world's largest digital agency, expanding our global capabilities across experience, marketing, content and commerce with excellence in creative and mobile. This will contribute to further differentiate Accenture Interactive as a new breed of agency - experience architects - which helps brands connect disconnected experiences and shares accountability with clients for their business outcomes."

Commenting on the deal, Keith Hunt, managing partner at specialist technology M&A advisor Results International, said the acquisition is an exciting move for the industry and clearly a very significant step for Accenture.

"It's the first time one of the consultancy businesses has really moved beyond the core digital services in terms of the acquisitions they've made to date," he said.

"I suspect this move right into the creative space, which has up until now been the preserve of the more traditional marcoms groups and networks, will leave the major networks - and certainly the mid-market networks - a little shaken. This is very much a large new player announcing its intent to be a full-scale marcoms agency, rather than one just operating at the more technical end of digital marcoms.

"An equally significant point to consider is what this means for the other consultancies? People like Deloitte Digital, IBM iX, PWC, EY have all made acquisitions in the digital space in the last few years. They must now be looking at this and wondering what their next step should be. Many of those have hitherto said that they would not enter into what is a crowded space. However, now that Accenture has they probably need to reevaluate their strategies and consider whether they need to do the same to keep up."

In April this year, Accenture acquired a majority stake in IMJ Corporation (IMJ), a full-service digital agency in Japan. Prior to that, Accenture acquired AD.Dialeto, an independent Brazilian digital agency; Pacific Link, a set of independent digital agencies serving Hong Kong and Greater China; Chaotic Moon, an Austin, Texas-based creative technology studio; and Brightstep, a Swedish provider of digital content and commerce solutions.

"As part of Accenture Interactive, we will dramatically enhance our ability to offer best-in-class creativity and digital delivery," said Ben Bilboul, CEO at Karmarama.

"We look forward to extending our creative ideas across the entire customer experience, offering clients consistent and connected creativity. We believe this is a genuinely game-changing moment for clients and for our team, who will now have even greater opportunity to work with leading global brands across international markets."

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