International advertising holding company WPP has acquired a controlling interest in fast-growing South African-headquartered marketing agency Quirk, the two companies announced on Tuesday.
The deal, which is still subject to regulatory approvals, comes just months after WPP acquired a majority stake in Cerebra, which specialises in communications and social media.
Quirk was founded 15 years ago as a digital marketing agency by Rob Stokes. Stokes was also the founding chairman of Silicon Cape, an initiative to nurture technology start-ups in the Western Cape.
The value of the Quirk acquisition has not been disclosed.
In a statement, WPP says the decision to buy Quirk is in line with its “strategy of developing its services in fast-growing and important markets and sectors and strengthening its capabilities in digital media”.
WPP’s digital revenues were more than US$6bn in 2013, representing about a third of the total. WPP has set a target of 40%-45% of revenue to be derived from digital in the next five years.
The company has annual billings of $72,3bn and revenues of $17,3bn.
“WPP has been watching Quirk for a while and we feel strongly that now is the right time for us to join forces”, said WPP CEO Martin Sorrell in a statement.
Quirk has five agencies in Africa and London, including a new but growing presence in Kenya. Its clients include Distell, Capitec, Woolworths, Hollard, Makro, Unilever, Caltex and Tyco.
Quirk’s unaudited consolidated revenues for the year ended 28 February 2014 were about R140m, with gross assets at the same date of roughly R68m. — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media