Update: Oliver Group acquires digital agency Dare with senior managing team departing

Oliver Group has acquired digital agency Dare for an undisclosed sum in a move that will see a change of senior management at the company which is expected to operate as a stand-alone agency within the Oliver Group.

The Oliver Group’s purchase of Dare, whose client list includes Barclays, Barclaycard and Sainsbury’s, will strengthen its creative digital strategy.

Oliver Group chief executive, Simon Martin, described Dare as “an innovator in the digital space” which created hugely engaging digital experiences. He said the agency was “excited by the possibilities of bringing them into the Oliver Group and believe the synergies between the two companies innovative mindset’s will lead to an exciting future.”

Dare’s non-executive chairman, Mark Collier, said the sale represented a “hugely exciting opportunity for Dare to be part of such a progressive and fast growing marketing services group”. He added that “the Oliver model is genuinely unique and it is proving to be increasingly attractive to clients, both in the UK and internationally”.

Dare will now work with Oliver’s staff across its offices in London, Dublin, New York, San Francisco, Miami, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Singapore. The agency's chief executive Leigh Thomas and creative partner Brian Cooper will remain with the business. Creative director Flo Heiss left earlier this year before the Oliver acquisition to pursue other opportunities.

Keith Hunt, managing partner at Results International, which advises agencies on mergers and acquisitions, said if people haven’t much of Oliver yet they will start to now off the back of the Dare buy.

“You could see their acquisition of Dare as another step in the unravelling of the once highly acquisitive Cossette/Vision 7/EDC group, however it’s much more interesting than that. Oliver has an unusual pedigree for agency land,” he continued.

“It’s been built up by chief executive Simon Martin, whose insurance background means he’s approached the world of marketing and building an agency in quite a different way. Oliver’s point of difference is that its own teams are co-located in client’s offices – in their own words they “provide clients with dedicated, on-site agencies that are built from the ground up that live and work right at the very heart of your organisation.”

“In theory this means much better interaction for all concerned but also allows Oliver to spot further opportunities within a client’s business. The big management consultants all have a mantra that says get into your client’s office and don’t leave; knock on doors and walk the corridors until you get more business. Oliver has clearly subscribed to the same model and the opportunities that come with it.”

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