Dentsu moves swiftly to lock in Merkle in buyout deal

Being anywhere in adland is a precarious business at the moment but managers and staff at Merkle, the performance marketing agency two-thirds acquired by Dentsu’s DAN network are set for a $100m windfall with a further $60m to come as Dentsu has brought forward its purchase of the remaining shares from 2021 to now.

Merkle was originally valued at $1.5bn in 2015. The money will still be paid in 2021 as per the original plan.

Dentsu president and acting CEO of DAN Toshi Yamamoto says: “Merkle represents the highest growth area of the overall business. For our clients, the acquisition has already been transformative, positioning us as world leaders in delivering fully integrated services and solutions across the marketing mix, alongside our Media and Creative offerings, helping our clients to win, keep and grow their best customers.”

Since 2015 Merkle has expanded rapidly outside its home base of the US. Dentsu clearly wants to lock in its key staff, headed by CEO David Williams, even in these financially trying times.

Former DDB CEO Wendy Clark is set to take over as CEO of DAN is September and it’s likely that she played a role in the decision to lock in Merkle, the highest growth part of DAN’s business.

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