Data Drives IPG’s $2.3B Buy of Acxiom Unit

The acquisition of Acxiom Marketing Solutions will help IPG clients create "personalized brand experiences across every consumer touchpoint."
Matthew HellerJuly 3, 2018

Ad agency holding company Interpublic Group has agreed to buy Acxiom’s data business for $2.3 billion in a move to help clients target their ads more effectively.

The Acxiom Marketing Solutions (AMS) unit accounts for about three-quarters of Axciom’s total revenue and specializes in housing and managing customer data from clients such as retailers and financial-services firms.

IPG’s ad agencies include Deutsch, IPG Mediabrands, FCB, McCann, Huge, and R/GA. According to Business Insider, the deal should help IPG “craft custom audiences for its clients and target groups of customers with specific messages.”

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“In a world where everything is becoming data-driven, Acxiom Marketing Solutions offers the deepest set of capabilities for helping companies navigate the complexity of creating personalized brand experiences across every consumer touchpoint,” IPG Chief Executive Michael Roth said in a news release.

“The powerful combination of IPG and Acxiom Marketing Solutions is a game changer for the industry, and we believe it will drive meaningful value for both our clients and shareholders,” he added.

Acxiom is not selling its LiveRamp data-migration business, which will become its new focal point. Marketing Solutions will represent nearly 8% of IPG’s overall revenues while making the group less reliant on data-crunching tools provided by tech giants such as Facebook and Google.

The deal “could prove to be the most significant [merger or acquisition] within the agency space since Publicis bought Sapient in 2014,” Brian Wieser, a senior analyst at Pivotal, said in a research note. “Conceptually, we think such a transaction should be very positive for either company, as it would provide exposure to revenue streams that should remain vibrant.”

Acxiom confirmed earlier this year that it was conducting a strategic review of two options — a sale of AMS or a sale of LiveRamp. AMS’ 2,100-plus employees will now be part of Mediabrands.

“It became clear that a sale of AMS to IPG, with its vast scale and breadth of complementary services, represented the best possible path forward for our clients and associates,” Acxiom CEO Scott Howe said.