Dentsu’s U.S. unit has acquired Innovation Interactive, the parent of digital ad shop 360i, AdAge reported (Later: announced officially, here). The purchase ends several months of searching for a significant digital acquisition for Dentsu. Back in August, Dentsu, Japan’s largest ad agency, saw its $700 million offer for Razorfish rebuffed in favor of Publicis Groupe’s $530 million bid. After Razorfish was transferred from Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) to Publicis, to become part of the French ad holding company’s VivaKi digital unit, Dentsu made it loud and clear that it was determined to buy a digital shop.
From the official statement: The company, with 9 offices in 4 countries, will continue to operate under co-CEOs Will Margiloff and Bryan Wiener, who will report to Tim Andree, President & CEO of Dentsu Holdings USA.
Search marketing specialist iCrossing recently put itself on the block and many observers considered Dentsu a likely buyer. To be sure, just because Dentsu has acquired Innovation Interactive, it doesn’t mean that Dentsu is done shopping.
But Innovation Interactive does satisfy several of Dentsu’s needs. The New York-based company claims it brought in $61 million in revenue last year and is projecting end 2010 with more than $80 million. While 360i has mainly been known as a search marketer, its acquisition two years ago of interactive design shop i33 helped it develop its creative side.
AdAge said that the talks with Innovation Interactive have been going on for a year, long before the Razorfish loss and the more recent focus on iCrossing. Aside from iCrossing, there are two other acquisition holdouts that remain targets. Rosetta is a New Jersey-based independent shop that that boasts of more than $100 million in revenues. And, as always, AKQA, which sold a majority stake to PE firm General Atlantic nearly three years ago, remains one of the top digital acquisition targets among major ad holding companies.