WPP buys UK ad agency Fortune Cookie

03/08/2012

Global ad giant WPP has bought Fortune Cookie, one of the UK’s longest running independent digital marketing services agencies.

The acquisition was made via WPP’s interactive marketing agency Possible, buying a majority stake in Fortune Cookie. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Fortune Cookie specialises in providing design and build, mobile and tablet apps and site development, online marketing services and digital strategy.

The deal will see Fortune Cookie combine its business with that of Possible Worldwide in the UK to provide an enhanced service offering to its global clients.

Fortune Cookie was founded in 1997 by Justin Cooke, who is currently chair of the British Interactive Media Association (BIMA).

The agency, which employs over 190 people, is headquartered in London with operations in Poland, the Netherlands, US and Australia. It’s clients include Canon, Aegon, NetJets, BP and Legal & General.

The firm’s consolidated revenues for the year ended August 31st 2011 were around £9.4m, with gross assets at the same date of around £2.8m.

Commenting on the deal, Cooke said: "Possible Worldwide is a global agency who knows that creating remarkable digital experiences for brands begins with amazing people.

"At the core of developing great solutions for clients is cultivating an atmosphere around brilliant people – a philosophy we share, and we are quite proud to now call ourselves Possible Worldwide."

Cooke will now become CEO of Possible Worldwide UK.

The deal expands Possible's UK and European footprint, adding to established agencies in Russia, Hungary, Romania and Serbia by supplying a major new office in Poland.

"“Fortune Cookie has carved out a stellar reputation for smart and impactful digital work that makes people happy and delivers standout solutions and results for brands,” said Shane Atchison, global CEO of Possible Worldwide. “The deal gives us a greatly expanded footprint in the UK market and builds upon our strength in Eastern Europe with a major new office in Poland. Justin has built the company into one of London’s most dynamic shops and we are excited to welcome him and the Fortune Cookie global team to the Possible Worldwide fold.”

Keith Hunt, managing partner, Results International commented on the deal: "What this gives Justin is a much bigger field to play in. As a high profile character in the industry – he has been voted most influential person in digital – it’s a role he will undoubtedly relish and excel in.

"It also signals WPP’s continuing digital ambitions. It has a declared target of 35-40% of revenue from digital in the next five years. Current digital revenue stands at $4.8 billion which accounts for 30%. This leaves a $1 billion shortfall even after you take into account the recent purchases of AKQA and Fortune Cookie. This is unlikely to come from organic growth so expect to see more digital acquisitions in the months ahead. Publicis, Aegis and others have made similar statements about digital revenues so you can be sure there will be more digital agency acquisitions to come."

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