Digital Transformation

Adam Graham is eyeing at least five agency acquisitions in 12 months to fuel ‘Project Oak’

By Jennifer Faull | Deputy Editor

September 2, 2016 | 3 min read

Adam Graham, the former chief executive of digital agency Weapon7, is in talks to make at least one acquisition of an agency in the coming months as he readies the launch of a new ‘digital and data centric’ marketing services group.

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Adam Graham is eyeing 10 agency acquisitions in 12 months to fuel ‘Project Oak’.

The group has been code-named ‘Project Oak’ and has received £100m in backing from an unnamed private equity firm.

Don Elgie, the former chief executive of Creston, has also come on board as chairman.

The Drum understands that it will officially launch in October.

The first of these the acquisitions - the 'platform deal' - will be the most crucial and Graham is hoping to have to completed by December. He is after a company making profits in the region of £2m with a good spread of clients but the challenge will be in convincing an independent agency of this ilk to sell up to a private equity backed venture.

He is understood to be earmarking at least £15m for the first acquisition.

After that, the job of convincing agencies to sell becomes a little easier.

Sources have also told The Drum that Graham is aiming to make between five and 10 acquisitions in the first year.

'Project Oak' will join a new breed of marketing services groups promising greater collaboration between tech and data-led agencies and clients, which are pitching themselves as the antithesis to the traditional holding group structure.

The likes of You and Mr Jones - launched by former Havas chief David Jones - and Be Heard have both described their respective models as sitting at the "intersection" of technology, marketing and brands.

Graham is currently a consultant with Cact.us, a ‘growth consultancy’ which works with agencies to aid their expansion.

Prior to that he was chief executive at Omnicom’s Weapon7, a digital agency which counted Bacardi, Mercedes-Benz, and Xbox among its clients.

Graham had not returned The Drum’s request for comment at the time of writing.

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