Publicis Groupe acquires Poke for undisclosed sum


By Jessica Davies, News Editor

September 19, 2013 | 3 min read

Publicis Groupe has acquired digital agency Poke for an undisclosed sum.

The agency, which launched in 2001, has been acquired from its four founding shareholders as well as ad agency Mother, which held a stake. It will now join the Publicis Worldwide network in the UK alongside Publicis London, Publicis Chemistry and Publicis Blueprint.

The move is not expected to result in any redundancies, and the senior management team and founding partners, comprising CEO Nick Farnhill, executive creative director Nik Roope, chief operating officer Peter Beech and client partner Tom Hostler, will remain with the business in the same roles.

Poke, whose clients include EE, the BBC, Mulberry, Ted Baker, and Sky Bet, will bring expertise across service design, UX, digital architecture, e-commerce, social, mobile and product development will "complement and enhance" Publicis’ existing capabilities across advertising, CRM, content solutions and digital communications, Publicis said in a statement today.

Poke founding partner and CEO Nick Farnhill said: "We’ve had very successful and rewarding working relationships with Publicis Conseil in France and Publicis Chemistry in the UK for some time working across Orange and EE and the new partnership is simply a natural and positive evolution of these relationships.

“Particularly appealing is the opportunity to develop digital communication solutions beyond advertising with our new UK partners, the capacity to operate more effectively internationally and the potential of exciting career opportunities for our team. Digital isn't one thing. It's everything. So you can't get far without productive partnerships.”

Prior to the acquisition, Poke New York completed a management buyout of the company, relaunching as the new, independent digital innovation company Makeable.

Jean-Yves Naouri, Publicis Worldwide executive chairman and Publicis Groupe chief operating officer, said: “Poke is a company that we have admired for some time. This acquisition will further strengthen our Publicis UK offering by adding a new level of digital expertise, creativity and innovation to the Publicis UK group of agencies.”

Karen Buchanan, CEO of Publicis London, said: “Poke is an incredible brand with a heritage of producing award-winning, creative work and an open and collaborative culture. Its skillset and values very much complement those of Publicis London and the wider UK group and can only help us continue delivering best-in-class for all our clients.”

The deal follows last week’s announcement that Publicis Group UK chairman and CEO Nigel Jones was leaving the business for a global strategy role at DraftFCB.


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