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WPP's GroupM acquires The Exchange Lab with CEO James Aitken to depart

WPP's GroupM has bought The Exchange Lab in a bid to bolster its capabilities by bringing the programmatic firm's talent and proprietary tech Proteus under its roof.

The terms of the deal have not been disclosed but The Exchange Lab will operate globally as an "agnostic business layer" within Connect, part of GroupM, which it claimed today would "expand its multi-platform (meta-DSP) approach".

The Exchange Lab has approximately 130 employees working in offices in London, New York, Chicago, Singapore, and Toronto and it will continue to serve its some 700 clients - including Virgin Holidays, Volkswagen, A&W, Glasses Direct and Vue Entertainment - independently.

As a result of the acquisition, The Exchange Lab's chief executive and co-founder James Aitken will step down "to pursue outside investment interests". Moving forward, executive chairman Chris Dobson, will take the role of chief executive, working closely with Tim Webster who continues as chief strategy officer.

Dobson will report directly to Rudiger Wanck, global chief executive of Connect, GroupM Global.

"The Exchange Lab's value proposition for an all-in-one solution across all digital media and devices and their commitment to building the absolute best technology to solve complexity for clients aligns precisely with the goals of Connect," explained Wanck in an annoucement outlining the deal today (18 December).

"The impetus behind the creation of Connect is to provide agnostic real time media investment management across all technologies, data and inventory. Adding The Exchange Lab's talent and proprietary technology accelerates our development and directly benefits the clients of GroupM's agencies. Likewise, GroupM's unparalleled scale and innovative media partnerships will terrifically enhance The Exchange Lab's client services. I greatly admire The Exchange Lab's accomplishments and look forward to working closely with Chris Dobson and his team."