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I Spy Marketing joins Aegis fold with iProspect acquisition


By The Drum Team, Editorial

August 1, 2012 | 3 min read

Aegis owned performance marketing agency iProspect has acquired digital marketing agency I Spy, bringing the former company’s search billings to £150m.

The deal will see the iProspect team grow to over 250, led by iProspect managing director Ben Wood, with I Spy being fully integrated within.

The leadership team at I Spy, Chris Whitelaw, Jim Brigden, Chris Speed and Nishma Robb will also join the senior management team at iProspect, with the agency relocating to iProspect and beginning a recruitment programme across the company.

The average earn-out period for deals with Aegis is understood to be four-years, although the period involved in this deal has not been specified.

I Spy's gross assets at the end of last year were recorded at £2.9m.

Ben Wood, commented: “Our acquisition of I Spy is testament to our ambition and key to our scaling of the iProspect business in the UK. It also builds on our growth and recent expansion in Manchester and Edinburgh. We are extremely proud that this deal makes us the biggest search and performance marketing agency in the UK and we are pleased to extend a warm welcome to our talented new colleagues from I Spy.”

Chris Whitelaw, founder and president of I Spy Marketing, added: “By becoming part of iProspect we are looking forward to accelerating our growth and building our offering, while continuing to deliver excellent results and unlocking unprecedented opportunities for staff and clients alike. The chemistry between our two teams, our shared philosophy and passion for digital marketing will provide a solid foundation for a dynamic collaboration and we are very much looking forward to our future at iProspect.”

Jim Brigden, I Spy Marketing chief executive, concluded: ‘”This is an exciting time for the I Spy Marketing team and an excellent opportunity to join the Aegis Group, one of the most innovative and rapidly developing media groups globally. As a part of iProspect our team will have greater opportunities to develop their skills and gain broader experience. Our clients will enjoy more resources, even greater opportunities to innovate and a larger team with the same passion for digital marketing as we have at I Spy.”

Also acquired through the deal is I Spy's affiliate 4Search Limited.

Aegis has also this morning announced the acquisition of marketing effectiveness analytics agency Data2Decisions.

Nigel Morris, CEO, Aegis Media Americas & EMEA, said of that deal: "Data is one of the key areas of competitive advantage in the convergent market. D2D has built an impressive, scaled business that complements and strengthens our existing data capabilities to drive even greater marketing insight and analysis. We look forward to fully integrating D2D into our operating model to leverage their capability across all parts of our business for our clients."

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