- Accenture has agreed to acquire South Africa-based independent creative agency King James Group to support its Accenture Interactive marketing services division, according to a news release. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
- King James Group offers integrated communications across categories including financial services, consumer packaged goods, technology and media. With offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg, the 24-year-old shop adds 300 employees to Accenture Interactive's South Africa business.
- Along with marking Accenture's first acquisition in Africa, the deal is the first major agency purchase since the global management consultancy named David Droga as CEO of Accenture Interactive in August. The news supports Accenture Interactive's bids to expand its creative capabilities and develop a more global footprint.
Accenture further extends its marketing service division's global reach with the King James Group acquisition, the latest in a long line of marketing M&A from the global management consultancy. The deal signals a bigger bet on Africa amid a burgeoning startup boom on the continent and as marketers broadly eye new markets for growth.
The transaction aims to fortify Accenture Interactive's South African workforce with 300 experienced brand strategy and creative experts. Founded in 1998, King James Group has received accolades for its creative work at shows like Cannes Lions, the One Show, the Clios and more, per the release.
"Establishing a bigger, more relevant presence has always been on our horizon, and we're proud to do it in a way that will continue to preserve our ethos, hone our craft and build on our existing achievements," said James Barty, founding partner and CEO of the King James Group, in a press statement. "Joining Accenture Interactive will be an incredible opportunity that will offer our people exciting growth and our client’s access to outstanding capabilities on a global scale."
Accenture Interactive's other recent expansion moves include opening a Tokyo office for its Droga5 creative shop, with plans for new locations in Brazil and China in the near future. Like the King James Group deal, scaling up Droga5's presence in those markets is a sign that the firm is putting a fresh premium on creativity.
Global management consultancies have encroached on the business of traditional advertising agencies in recent years by wielding specialties in technology and transformation services. The large ad holding groups, in turn, have started to reinvent themselves to look more like consultancies, a pivot that's generated some promising results following struggles with growth. Now, companies like Accenture Interactive are investing more in creativity to round out their offerings and provide clients with more holistic services.
Droga5 founder David Droga stepped up as Accenture Interactive's CEO and creative chairman on Sept. 1, replacing Brian Whipple, who served a decade in the role and spearheaded the unit's impressive dealmaking streak. Around the announcement, Droga said he would put "further emphasis on our creative excellence, coupling it with our world-class ingenuity and proven expertise in Interactive and experiences."