- Accenture acquired the Spanish brand communications agency Shackleton, which will be integrated into the company's digital marketing services arm Accenture Interactive, according to news shared with Marketing Dive. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- Formed in 2004, Shackleton retains 160 staff in offices in its Madrid headquarters, Barcelona and Santiago, Chile. Clients for the agency that's focused on ad campaigns and digital content creation include the Spanish bank Abanca, state-owned train operator Renfe Operadora and ride-hailing service Uber.
- Shackleton has earned industry praise for its work with brands across 15 years of operation, including 35 Cannes Lions awards, per a press release. The deal builds on Accenture's agency acquisition strategy centered on Europe, which also includes recent purchases of Germany's Kolle Rebbe, Denmark's Hjaltelin Stahl and the Netherland's Storm Digital.
Beyond strengthening Accenture's digital talent pool and client roster, the Shackleton acquisition is notable for coming so closely on the tails of Accenture Interactive agreeing to purchase Droga5. The deal for the independent creative agency, which was reportedly a year in the making and is still subject to antitrust clearance, will mark the largest in Accenture Interactive's 10-year history and its biggest bet yet on the creative skill set that traditional ad agencies have historically dominated.
Accenture extending its acquisition streak less than a week after the Droga5 announcement signals that the consultancy's aggressive activity in the agency space is unlikely to cool, even as some of its targets get bigger. Droga5, for example, employs roughly 500 staff across offices in New York and London versus Shackleton's 160. Accenture was also reportedly among three finalists bidding on the embattled agency network MDC Partners, which owns more than 50 agencies, including notable shops like 72andSunny and Crispin Porter + Bogusky.
The Shackleton deal is more or less in line with previous Accenture agency buys, namely in being a smaller, independent and more locally specialized firm. On top of Europe-focused deals for Kolle Rebbe, Hjaltelin Stahl and Storm Digital, the consultancy also recently snapped up the Brazilian content marketing firm New Content, underpinning its growing desire to bring on specialists who can better meld creative and digital skills, along with more high-profile, regional clients.
As Accenture has rapidly grown its agency business amid an increasing client demand for partners in areas like data management and digital transformation, traditional agencies have started to more closely mirror consultancies, in some cases launching dedicated consulting units. Others have turned to acquisitions to sharpen their knowledge around less familiar fields to Madison Avenue, like data.
With data in mind, IPG last year acquired Acxiom Data Marketing Solutions for $2.3 billion. Publicis also recently confirmed it's considering buying Alliance Data Systems Corporation's data marketing division Epsilon. Such a deal would closely mirror IPG's Acxiom buy, although Epsilon reportedly has a far higher asking price of around $5 billion.