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Nice Agency bosses reveal that sale to Karmarama partly due to group's independent status

Karmarama has acquired mobile app development agency, Nice Agency for an undisclosed sum in order to develop its digital offering in the longterm.

The Shoreditch based agency, founded five years ago by Peter Dolukhanov and Ryan Hall, currently employs 50 members of staff who will all move over to the group.

“We’ve grown the agency beyond all expectations in terms of client, staffs and work – without any external assistance to date and we were always looking to our strategic options in the future,” Dolukhanov told The Drum. “We almost approached each other at the same time,” he added. “It seems to make sense with what those guys do from a creative capability.”

They added that the independence of Karmarama was another attraction, while they described the culture of the group as “ an incredible fit for us…they are not just about the bottom line. It’s about caring for your clients and trying to do good,” explained Hall.

Dolukhanov said that by buying Nice Agency, Karmarama was filling the one gap it had remaining in the marketing service skill set, and that this would ‘close the loop’ from a communications perspective through the agency’s platform engineering capability.

Nice will continue to operate as an independent business within the group, according to the pair, who have been told they will ultimately oversee the group's digital output down the line, although they would continue to focus on mobile for the time being while extending current capabilities across the client portfolio.

“Our focus remains the same in terms of running Nice and building marketing leading mobile exposure for brands,“ explained Dolukhanov of the pair’s brief.

Ben Bilboul, chief executive of Karmarama, added: “Nice has an amazing track record of helping brands transition to mobile. They’ve created business-critical platforms for brands like first direct and Channel 4, and we believe this partnership will give us an unrivalled ability to develop mobile products for our clients. It will also enhance our digital capability across the board. Ryan, Peter and the team at Nice are outrageously talented, ambitious and successful. Luckily, they’re as nice and down to earth as their name suggests and they’ll be a perfect cultural fit with the Karma team. We couldn’t be happier to have them on board.”

The two companies had previously worked on clients such as Snog and Magnum together before agreeing the deal.

Neither of the pair disclosed the value of the deal, nor the length of time they were tied to the company following the buy out, however they underlined their commitment long-term to continue to grow Nice.

Nice has been awarded Top 10 Agency status within The Drum’s Digital Census while The Drum listed Hall in its Top 50 Influential Mobile Marketing Professionals in 2013, an accolade that Dolukhanov may also receieve having been nominationed in this year’s poll.