Dentsu Acquires Steak Group Ltd

Dentsu, the world’s number one consolidated agency network and the world’s fifth largest marketing communications holding company, announced Friday that it has acquired 100% of the share capital of Steak Group.

Steak will operate under the supervision of Dentsu Network West, reporting to its London office. Steak is a digital media company, with offices in London, New York and Melbourne. Its reputation for consumer engagement and delivering measurable results is reflected in its diverse client roster, which includes such innovative brands as Virgin Holidays, AXA, Swiftcover, Debenhams and Comparethemarket.com.

Steak currently has 94 employees and is led by Oliver Bishop, Co-founder and CEO, and Duncan Parry, Co-founder and Head of Paid Search. Steak was Interactive Media Awards Agency of the Year after only three years trading in 2008, and has since maintained top fifteen status in Marketing and New Media Age league tables for digital search agencies in the UK.

Jim Kelly, CEO of Dentsu Europe noted that he has followed Steak’s progress since it started in 2005, and admire enormously what Bishop and his partners have achieved. Digital media is a cornerstone of Dentsu Network West’s growth strategy, said Kelly. This acquisition is a great step in offering class leading digital solutions to Dentsu clients in Europe, he added.

Commenting on the acquisition, Bishop reiterated that Steak takes digital media seriously and wants to be a leader in online marketing– that's exactly Dentsu’s ethos at Steak. It's a perfect fit – Steak will continue to grow as Steak and as a major part of Dentsu in Europe, said Bishop.
 
The partnership enables Steak to both work with Dentsu’s European offices, and to offer to its clients Dentsu’s media expertise throughout Asia. Steak is currently exploring opportunities for its clients in South East Asia.

The acquisition also doubles Dentsu’s size in the UK (alongside Dentsu London and Dentsu Sports), and follows on Dentsu’s acquisition in January of the Düsseldorf based digital creative agency, Social Thinkers, further substantiating Dentsu’s commitment to digital growth and success in Europe.

Jim Kelly will join the Steak board of directors along with Tim Andree, CEO of Dentsu Network West, and Executive Officer, Dentsu Inc. Seb Bishop will remain as non-executive Chairman. Steak’s operations will continue to be run from its headquarters in Shorts Gardens, Covent Garden, London.

As part of the transaction, Beringea the private equity investor, which invested in Steak in 2007, will fully exit the business.

6th June 2011