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Omnicom Agrees Deal to Buy Ascential's Ecommerce Business - Adweek

Author: Adweek

Source: https://www.adweek.com/agencies/omnicom-agrees-835-million-deal-to-buy-ascentials-ecommerce-business/

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New Year, new hopes and new hurdles.Join Adweek for Outlook 2024, January 23, as we gather experts to dissect the (near) future and focus in on the key issues that will matter most in 2024.Save 50% with early-bird rates—register now.Agency network Omnicom has agreed to pay around $835 million (£688 million) to Ascential, the owner of Cannes Lions, to acquire its digital commerce division, including cloud-based ecommerce division Flywheel.Last week, 11 Ascential digital commerce brands were integrated into Flywheel under the new entity.Ascential’s chief executive Duncan Painter, who will lead the new division going forward as CEO, is moving to Omnicom.The digital commerce platform lets retail clients monitor and measure their ecommerce performance in near-real time, letting them improve sales, share and profits. It claims to offer “expertise, scale, global reach, and highly sophisticated AI and data-powered solutions,” to the world’s largest consumer product companies and fast-growing brands.Founded in 2014 and now employing a workforce of around 2,000 people, Flywheel has operations across the Americas, Europe, APAC, and China and offers solutions across more than 400 digital marketplaces.Citing a forecast from Insider Intelligence earlier this year that claims that ecommerce sales worldwide are set to increase by 50%, reaching about $7 trillion dollars by 2025, John Wren, chairman and CEO of Omnicom said in a statement: “The acquisition of Flywheel significantly broadens our reach and influence in the rapidly expanding digital commerce and retail media sectors, two of the fastest-growing parts of the industry.”Wren continued: “Together, we will seamlessly integrate our offerings across retail and brand media, digital and in-store commerce, and CRM, ultimately delivering superior results for our clients.”Following the planned acquisition closure during the first quarter of next year, Flywheel will be led by Painter and operate as what the company calls a practice area within Omnicom.Ascential has also agreed to sell trend forecasting company WGSN to Bidco for around $847 million (£700 million).Once the transactions have been completed, Ascential Group will still include its events business, which it revealed had delivered around $258 million (£213 million) in revenue during its last full financial year ending June 2023.Philip Thomas, currently CEO of Ascential Intelligence and Events, will succeed Painter as CEO of Ascential and will also join the Board.“We are delighted that we have found excellent owners for both Digital Commerce and WGSN that will allow each business to flourish and take the next steps to pursue their own individual ambitions,” commented Painter.“Omnicom’s and Digital Commerce’s complementary technology and data platforms, together with their strong client relationships will be instrumental in accelerating the realization of Digital Commerce’s strategy, and WGSN is also well set for its next chapter of growth under new ownership.Ascential’s continuing business with its world-leading Events brands remains well positioned to succeed as a high quality, independent U.K.-listed business,” he added.Furthermore, the board of software as a service (SaaS) media buying company Hudson MX, in which Ascential holds a 36.5% stake, has initiated the sale of the Hudson MX.Omnicom has confirmed its participation in the sale process for Hudson MX too.Enjoying Adweek's Content?Register for More Access!

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