The global marketing communications group Aegis Group acquired the leading independent digital marketing agency in Russia, AdWatch. In 2007, AdWatch generated turnover of $31.3 million. Its gross assets reached $15 million. AdWatch first started cooperating with a Russian office of Aegis Media in 2002. According to Vedomosti business daily newspaper, the deal could be worth up to $27 million.
Through the acquisition, Aegis‘ digital network Isobar becomes number one in online media services in Russia. Russia is expected to become the second largest Internet market in Europe by the end 2008 with online advertising spending forecasted to double in 2008.
Robert Lerwill, CEO of Aegis, commented on the acquisition: “The recent growth of Russia has made Europe’s ‘Big Five’ markets a ‘Big Six’. AdWatch brings us a significant competitive advantage in a market where demand for digital services is outstripping supply. It will enable us to boost our services in Russia rapidly, bringing an experienced and excellent team on the ground to make Isobar the market leader.”
AdWatch, which was founded in 2000, has staff of 76 and is based in Moscow. The company provides strategic planning, online media planning and buying, creative services, website design and build, online PR and below-the-line services and other digital marketing solutions. Its clients include Microsoft, VTB Bank, SUN Interbrew, Canon and Rolf.
In May 2008, Mangrove Capital Partners and ABRT Fund invested in Russian in-game advertising agency EnterMedia.