Match Media acquired by Publicis

By Pippa Chambers & Rosie Baker | 3 June 2015
John Preston and James Simmons

Publicis Groupe has bought independent media agency Match Media for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition marks the launch of ZenithOptimedia's Blue 449 network in Australia and the Match acquisition is described as “the vanguard” of its expansion in the Asia-Pacific region.

A Publicis spokesman said: “As part of the Blue 449 network, Match Media will benefit from the extensive range of “open source” services offered within Publicis Groupe in order to better equip its clients with the latest technologies, accompanying them through their fast-paced business transformation fuelled by digital, technology, innovation, and consumer empowerment today.”

Match Media was founded in 2003 by CEO John Preston. Match's billings sit at above $170million. The shop has 75 staff, all of which will stay on following the acquisition and it is ranked 17th in the Warc 100 best agencies in the world.

The Match brand and management team will also stay in place. Preston will remain CEO and James Simmons as COO. They will report to Gerry Boyle, global managing partner/APAC chairman of ZenithOptimedia Asia Pacific.

Speaking to AdNews, CEO of ZenithOptimedia, Ian Perrin, said Match was its first and only port of call, given its strong heritage, talented team and expertise in data, digital and strategy.

“We are an incredibly ambitious as a network and 18 months ago, globally, we decided to expand and grow the business,” Perrin said.

“We knew that for this to come to fruition we'd have to look at acquisitions. We are incredibly aggressive and now have two very strong brands in the network.”

Perrin added that is the move is a “statement” to the market from ZenithOptimedia, following a difficult six months for the agency. “We have learnt from 2014 and are coming back stronger in 2015,” he said.

Gerry Boyle said: “Blue 449 is a new global network comprised of like-minded entrepreneurs who are embracing technology and data as a means to delivering growth for clients. As a progressive digitally focused agency, Match Media is the perfect fit and we are pleased to announce their addition to the Blue 449 network.”

John Preston said Match had enjoyed a "wonderful run" in its 12-year history as an independent.

"Now, the rapidly changing world of data and technology has motivated us to explore potential partners that will allow us to provide our clients access to the latest technology and a suite of world class platforms and tools," Preston said.

"The challenge was finding a partner who could supercharge our existing offering but also had a kindred spirit. Publicis Groupe and its network ZenithOptimedia really impressed us with their digitally progressive vision and their focus on harnessing the independent entrepreneurial spirit that is in our DNA. I am really looking forward to the next evolution of Match as part of the Blue 449 network.”

James Simmons added that the move is a "natural next big step" in the story of Match.

"We have been on a continual journey of improvement and have built what we believe to be an excellent foundation," Simmons said.

"The time is right to leverage the assets that Blue 449 can bring to our clients, people and business to grow and create another chapter of pushing the boundaries in the media agency landscape.”

Publicis has been on the acquisition trail, and also bought Sapient earlier this year, as well as a number of smaller shops globally. Speculation in the market about whether Match was ripe for acquisition has peppered the market for while.

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