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Accenture takes first big step into creative with Karmarama acquisition

The march of the consultants continues apace and now one of the biggest, Accenture, has bought the UK’s Karmarama, one of the UK’s few independent agency groups. The price is undisclosed.

Accenture Interactive is already the world’s biggest digital agency but has, so far, lacked an out-and-out creative resource. Accenture says the acquisition will “integrate creative excellence and digital customer experience delivery within Accenture Interactive to offer connected creativity to brands.”

Karmarama which has enjoyed a roller coaster existence since its foundation in 2000, is currently backed by Phoenix Equity Partners so it was always one of the most likely targets for an acquirer. It currently has 250 employees across a range of disciplines and is led by executive chairman Jon Wilkins (formerly of Naked), CEO Ben Bilboul, CSO Sid McGrath and CCO Nik Studzinski who joined from Droga5 18 months ago.

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Wilkins knows all about deals, having sold Naked to Aussie outfit Proton a few years back. Accenture though is built on far more solid foundations and, potentially, brings Karmarama access to a huge list of global clients. Accenture also bought a majority stake in Japanese digital agency IMJ Corporation in April. Before this it bought Brazilian digital agency AD.Dialeto, 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 digital outfit.

Karmarama is different though, being primarily a traditional creative agency with clients including the BBC, Just Eat, Honda, Confused.com and Unilever. So, in theory at least, Accenture can now challenge the likes of WPP and Omnicom for any big global creative account. All it’s missing is a media agency, which may well be the next step.

Accenture Interactive head Brian Whipple says:“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. 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.”

Karmarama CEO Bilboul says: “As part of Accenture Interactive, we will dramatically enhance our ability to offer best-in-class creativity and digital delivery. 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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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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