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IBM inks deal to further German presence with purchase of digital outfit Aperto

IBM’s specialist digital agency is bolstering its presence in Germany announcing a deal to purchase Berlin-based Aperto for an undisclosed sum, in its bid to further capitalise on the market there where digital ad spend is close to €6bn per year.

The deal will see all 300-plus of Aperto’s staff, which service clients across the German-speaking countries of Europe, or DACH, join IBM’s specialist digital agency arm IBM Interactive Experience, or IBM iX, which it claims is the largest agency of its kind in the industry citing an Ad Age report into agencies.

IBM iX’s purchase of Aperto is the second such transaction in a week, following its purchase of US-based creative shop Resource/Ammirati seven days ago, plus it also comes in the wake of IBM closing its purchase of The Weather Channel last week. The announcement also comes hot on the heels of IBM announcing it was to open its global Internet of Things (IoT) headquarters in Munich in December last year.

The majority of Aperto’s headcount is based in the German capital city Berlin, with additional staff in Basel, Switzerland, and provides services in the fields of campaign execution including: data analysis; design; engineering, etc, for a client roster which counts AirBus, Siemens, Volkswagen and the Germany federal government among its number.

Demand for experience design is expected to accelerate as clients in all industries seek to deliver more consumer-like experiences to their customers and employees, and integrate the power of cognitive computing and analytics platforms.

Matt Candy, IBM iX VP and European leader, said: “We have been in this space for some time [IBMiX launched in February 2014], and a lot of our design capabilities began back in 1996, and we’ve been on a significant growth journey in that time. The new brand identity was to unify the capabilities.

“There’s a huge opportunity in Germany – the largest economy in Europe – and with this we’ve looking to drive digital transformation with clients.”

Dirk Buddensiek, Aperto’s founder, said the deal was reflective of the growing prominence of digital in the market there. He told The Drum: “It might be even a worldwide situation, there are a lot of industries that are looking around and starting to realise that they need a lot of [additional capabilities].”

He added: “Between the talent sitting within the iX team, and IBM’s transformative work in the cognitive space, as well as leadership in cloud, mobile and analytics, this opportunity will open many doors for both our team and clients.”

Ronan Shields

I cover digital media trading and martech for The Drum magazine, plus I write my own opinion pieces, I don't really commission them.

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