Leeds Agencies Agency Models

Havas Group looks north with Search Laboratory acquisition


By Sam Bradley, Journalist

April 6, 2022 | 4 min read

Havas Group has announced the acquisition of Leeds search agency Search Laboratory as part of a push by the holding company to expand beyond its footholds in London and Manchester.

havas graphic asset

Havas has announced the acquisition of Search Laboratory / The Drum

Search Laboratory was founded 17 years ago and specializes in training, support and implementing Google’s suite of search tools for clients including Burton Snowboards, Appian and UiPath.

In a statement, Yannick Bolloré, chairman and chief executive of Havas Group, said: “The acquisition of Search Laboratory comes at a time where Havas Media Group (HMG) is experiencing an impressive period of growth and momentum. Continuing to invest in HMG is part of a global transformation plan to deliver more data-led media experiences for both local and global clients.

“Search Laboratory’s sophisticated expertise in data and analytics perfectly complements our own to create an enhanced offering that will help brands to activate their data in more meaningful ways.”

Part of the acquisition’s attraction to Havas is the potential to build its presence in the north of England. With the recent opening of Channel 4’s headquarters in the city, Leeds has emerged as a Yorkshire counterpart to the media and agency scene centered on Manchester.

Following the completion of the deal for an undisclosed fee, Search Laboratory will be integrated into Havas Media Group, said the holding company in a statement.

Chris Attewell, chief executive officer of Search Laboratory, said: “We feel like we have found a natural new home with Havas Media Group. Our visions and ethos are very much aligned and our service offerings complement each other well. This is the next phase in our growth story and we can’t wait to work together and open up mutual opportunities for our staff and clients alike.”

Patrick Affleck, chief executive officer of Havas Media Group UK & Ireland, said: “We are thrilled that Search Laboratory will be joining Havas Media Group, further boosting our digital and data capabilities for our clients. It is a market leader in data-driven digital and performance marketing, and as the industry prepares for a new, cookie-less future, its advanced data and analytics services will enable our clients to better activate and extract strategic value from their first-party data.

“With a highly experienced senior team and a diverse client base spanning several verticals, Search Laboratory represents an exciting growth opportunity for Havas Media Group in the UK and internationally.”

Search Laboratory employs 150 staff across offices in New York, Austin, London and Leeds. The agency’s current leadership, including Attewell and founder Ian Harris, will stay in place.

The move is the second agency acquisition in the last month for Havas, which bought Shanghai indie agency Front Networks at the end of March.

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