Accenture acquires U.K. agency Karmarama

The accounting firm aims to build a "new breed of agency."

LONDON: Accenture has acquired U.K.-based creative agency Karmarama. 

Accenture, which has aggressively moved into digital and media services in recent years, vowed it is building "a new breed of agency" with Accenture Interactive and claimed Karmarama "will become part of the world's largest digital agency."

"The acquisition strengthens the ability of Accenture Interactive, part of Accenture Digital, to create and deliver integrated customer experiences to brands in the U.K. and beyond," the consulting firm said.

Accenture added that buying Karmarama "bolsters the full suite of customer transformation services Accenture Interactive provides to brands, from customer insights to creative conception and omni-channel delivery of meaningful human experiences."

An industry source suggested Karmarama has been valued at about one-and-a-half times its revenue—or as much as $62.3 million. Accenture declined to disclose the price it paid.

Karmarama's top four executives, Jon Wilkins, executive chairman; Ben Bilboul, chief executive; Sid McGrath, chief strategy officer; and Nik Studzinski, chief creative officer will "continue in their current roles and take on additional Accenture Interactive leadership positions" across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.

"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," Brian Whipple, head of Accenture Interactive.

Anatoly Roytman, head of Accenture Interactive Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Latin America, said, "Karmarama is a pioneer of modern creativity that chief marketing officers want—a big ideas agency with a deep understanding of how to connect people with brands."

Industry observers were surprised at the prospect of a consulting firm buying a creative business.

Marco Bertozzi, the global programmatic lead at Publicis Media Exchange, tweeted: "Wow cultural fit written all over that!"

Liz Wilson, COO at Karmarama, gave a clue that the agency was busy planning something when she tweeted a photo of staff working at 9 p.m. on Monday night and the message, "The night shift taking its dinner break #ThankYouTeam."

Karmarama was founded in 2000, and private equity firm Phoenix invested in it in 2011.

Accenture has made a number of marketing agency acquisitions including a majority stake in digital agencies IMJ Corporation in Japan, AD.Dialeto in Brazil, Pacific Link in Asia, U.S. creative shop Chaotic Moon, and Swedish digital content business Brightstep.

Deloitte, KPMG, PwC, and other consulting firms are also eyeing the marketing services sector, challenging the big ad groups WPP, Omnicom Group, Publicis Groupe, Interpublic Group, Dentsu, and Havas.

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