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Cheil Worldwide snaps up integrated agency Iris

South Korea-based marcoms company Cheil Worldwide has bought a stake in global integrated agency Iris, with an option to move to full ownership over the next five years.

Cheil, which began life in 1973 as Samsung’s in-house agency, employs over 5000 people in 41 countries globally. Iris, founded 16 years ago, employs around 1000 people in 17 offices worldwide. Its clients include Samsung, MINI, RB (Reckitt Benckiser), Shell, adidas, Barclaycard, Domino’s and Diageo. The two companies will operate as separate entities.

618-3 Cheil Worldwide CEO Daiki Lim (left) says: “Our goal was to find the right partner who could match our determination and drive. We’ve watched with awe how Iris has built its global business and we are delighted to have this opportunity to work with their brand. Their membership in the Cheil Worldwide network will bring great value and agility to us and to our clients.

“Together with Iris, we will provide a different level of service that is able to achieve amazing new creativity and offer best-in-class capabilities. This relationship is a key catalyst in our ambition to be the best possible partner to our clients to deliver ‘Ideas That Move’.”

Iris joint CEO Ian Millner says: “We are about to enter the most exciting chapter for Iris. This partnership won’t change who we are or what we do as a creative innovation network – but will extend our global reach and capabilities, and enable our clients and people to benefit from the huge opportunity presented by a true ‘East Meets West’ and ‘West Meets East’ network.

“Over the last 16 years we have retained an entrepreneurial spirit that is engrained in our DNA. In looking for the next step forwards we have found a partner that matches our ambition. Together we will become a real force to be reckoned with, the type of agency group that will define the future of the agency model.”

Cheil was advised by Results International and Linklaters, iris was advised by Osborne Clarke and BDO.

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