Dentsu, the world’s #1 consolidated agency network and the world’s 5th largest marketing communications holding company*, announced today that it has acquired 100% of the share capital of Steak Group. Steak will operate under the supervision of Dentsu Network West, reporting to its London office.
Steak is a digital media company, with offices in London, New York and Melbourne. Its reputation for consumer engagement and delivering measurable results is reflected in its diverse client roster, which includes such innovative brands as Virgin Holidays, AXA, Swiftcover, Debenhams and Comparethemarket.com.
Steak currently has 94 employees and is led by Oliver Bishop, Co-founder and CEO, and Duncan Parry, Co-founder and Head of Paid Search. Seb Bishop is non-executive Chairman.
Steak was Interactive Media Awards Agency of the Year after only three years trading in 2008, and has since maintained top fifteen status in Marketing and New Media Age league tables for digital search agencies in the UK.
Jim Kelly, CEO of Dentsu Europe said,“I have followed Steak’s progress since it started in 2005, and admire enormously what Ollie and his partners have achieved. Digital media is a cornerstone of Dentsu Network West’s growth strategy. This acquisition is a great step in offering class leading digital solutions to our clients in Europe”.
Ollie Bishop said,“I'm excited about being part of Dentsu. They take digital seriously and want to be a leader in online marketing– and that's exactly our ethos at Steak. It's a perfect fit – we'll continue to grow as Steak and as a major part of Dentsu in Europe. Everyone past and present at Steak Group's companies in London, New York and Melbourne should be proud of what we’ve achieved in a short space of time – and look forward to an exciting future”.
The partnership enables Steak to both work with Dentsu’s European offices, and to offer to its clients Dentsu’s media expertise throughout Asia. Steak is currently exploring opportunities for its clients in South East Asia.
The acquisition also doubles Dentsu’s size in the UK (alongside Dentsu London and Dentsu Sports), and follows on Dentsu’s acquisition in January of the Düsseldorf based digital creative agency, Social Thinkers, further substantiating Dentsu’s commitment to digital growth and success in Europe. Jim Kelly will join the Steak board of directors along with Tim Andree, CEO of Dentsu Network West, and Executive Officer, Dentsu Inc. Seb Bishop will remain as non-executive Chairman.
Steak’s operations will continue to be run from its headquarters in Shorts Gardens, Covent Garden, London. As part of the transaction, Beringea the private equity investor, which invested in Steak in 2007 will fully exit the business and Trevor Hope, Beringea’s Chief Investment officer will step down from Steak’s Board.
Dentsu was advised by Clarity Capital Partners and Steak by Green Square Partners.
About Dentsu Network West
Dentsu Network West (Dentsu.com) is a dynamic, collaborative collective of Dentsu-owned companies in North America, Latin America, Europe and Australia, comprising 35 offices in 11 countries. Its operating companies include Dentsu-branded agencies as well as the industry’s most lauded names, such as ATTIK, 360i (on Advertising Age's 2010 A-List), mcgarrybowen (Ad Age's 2010 A-List, as well as their 2009 Agency of the Year), and Firstborn (on Advertising Age’s 2009 A-List). Dentsu Network West’s mission is to connect all of the future-obsessed, client-centric, entrepreneurial talent of the Network in service of its clients' businesses. Dentsu Network West is headquartered in New York, with regional hubs in London and São Paulo.
About Steak Group
Steak Group (steakdigital.co.uk) comprises digital marketing services companies Steak UK, Steak US, Steak Australia and Minute Steak. Steak specialises in paid and natural search marketing (SEM and SEO), social media marketing, affiliate management, display advertising and digital design. Steak’s clients include Virgin Holidays, Debenhams, Swiftcover and Dixons Retail in the UK; Trump Hotels, Maxim and UStoreit in the US; and Betfair, Best Western and Thrifty in Australia. Minute Steak provides cost-effective search and social media services to smaller budget advertisers including fashion brands, online retailers and business service providers. Steak is a previous winner of the coveted Media Agency of the Year award at the Interactive Marketing and Advertising Awards, and has offices in London, New York and Melbourne.
*According to Ad Age’s 2011 Agency Report