Aegis to boost Isobar digital offer in US with $125m Roundarch acquisition

High-flying media buyer Aegis, whose Carat network recently won General Motors’ $3bn global media account, is planning to buy indie digital agency Roundarch for $125m.

The agency, with revenue of $63m and profits of about $11m will be merged with Isobar, Aegis’s global digital agency, to form RoundarchIsobar. The combined operation will have revenues about $90m.

Roundarch was founded in 2000 by accountants Deloitte and WPP. It was bought out by management headed by Geoff Cubitt and Jeff Malling in 2005. it operates from offices in Boston, Chicago, Denver and New York and its clients include Avis, HBO, Motorola and the US Air Force. It is ranked the US’s 39th biggest digital agency.

If Roundarch is worth $125m heaven knows what the 38 digital agencies above it are worth but those indie digital agencies still left standing after the recession are currently the most sought-after assets in the whole of adland.

Aegis, despite its GM win, is still not a player on a par with WPP, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe and Interpublic in the US. But Aegis boss Jerry Buhlmann has £525m burning a hole in his pocket from the sale of research business Synovate to Ipsos last year and has clearly decided that online creativity plus bits – in the shape of Isobar – is a crucial second leg to his media business.

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