WPP has bought German marcoms company Commarco Gmbh whose brands include Scholz and Friends, integrated agency deepblue, relationship marketer DialogGroup and production company United Visions.
The price hasn’t been disclosed but Hamburg-based Commarco turned over €132.9m last year and has net assets of €98.6m suggesting a valuation well in excess of £100m.
It’s an interesting move for WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell who has been persistently negative about the prospects for growth in Europe in recent years, preferring to concentrate his fire on acquisitions in China and other parts of the Far East although substantial targets have been difficult to identify.
WPP said today, a tad defensively, that Eastern Europe was growing much faster than Western, with Poland and Russia to the fore. It also said that Germany, whose economy is booming on the back of high-priced exports especially cars, was its third-largest market after the US and UK.
Scholz & Friends was founded in 1981 and has always been there or thereabouts among the leading German agencies. One of its traditional rivals Springer & Jacoby dropped out of the running spectacularly last year when it went bust, having failed to recover from the loss of the Mercedes account in 2006.
Scholz & Friends’ clients include American Express, Commerzbank and General Motors’ Opel.