ANALYSIS: Droga5's sale price was more than $600 million

By Chris Pash | 29 May 2019
Droga5 creative chairman, David Droga.

Droga5, the Australian-made creative agency, sold for more than $AU600 million, according to analysis of documents filed with authorities in the US.

The now New York-based agency founded in Australia in 2006 became part of Accenture Interactive in April but the sale price wasn't revealed.

However, documents filed to the US Securities and Exchange Commission show that Accenture paid at least $207 million for 49% of Droga5.

The numbers can be found in IPO documents lodged by major talent agency and content company Endeavor. 

WME Dragon Holdings, a subsidiary of Endeavor, sold its 49% interest in Droga5 to Accenture for $US233 million, according to the IPO documents. 

This price was subject to adjustments and at the close of the sale in April the cash paid out was $US207 million, or about $A298.5 million. There could be some upside to this later.

At that price, WME, which was reported to have paid $US115 million in 2013 for the 49% of Droga5, would be in profit by $US92 million ($A133 million).

Using this as guide, and assuming Accenture paid the same for the other 51%, Droga5 went for about $US422 million, or $A608.5 million. This could go as high as $US475 million ($A686 million), depending on future performance. 

Advertising companies are hard to put a price on because much of the fundamental value lies in the people and their creative output. 

But the indicative price paid for for Droga5 is about 2.8 revenue, at the top end of valuations for creative agencies. 

Why so much?

Avi Dan, a US agency search consultant, writing in Forbes, says: "The key takeaway from the Accenture-Droga5 deal is the value of branding, whether for an agency, product or service. Branding differentiates and elevates. Branding is a true representation of who you are as a business, and how you wish to be perceived."

The payout for founder David Droga, one of Australia's best known and most awarded creative exports, and an AdNews Hall of Fame inductee, isn't known but he is staying on as creative chairman. 

He reportedly said: "I'm not cashing out. I'm not riding off into the sunset on a kangaroo, but I do want to take it up a notch. I want to be one of the people that helps put the industry on its front foot again."

Droga5, whose work includes the Dundee Super Bowl ad for Tourism Australia, has more than 500 employees in New York and London. Its clients include HBO, the New York Times, and Amazon. 

The purchase by Accenture is part of a trend by professional service firms to build their creative credentials. 

Accenture two years ago acquired The Monkeys and design agency Maud for an undisclosed fee.

Last year KPMG made its first acquisition in the creative space with its purchase of Sydney independent UDKU

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