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CREATIVE AGENCIES

Professional services firm Accenture to acquire big SA agency group

By our News Team | 2021

Purchaser says well-established King James Group is “more than an agency” and a “well-oiled and combined communication practice”.

Accenture Interactive, a South African subsidiary of Accenture – the multinational professional services company that specialises in IT services and consulting – last week agreed to acquire the SA-based King James Group. 

The latter is a highly awarded creative agency with expertise in brand strategy, creativity, PR and digital marketing services. The deal is subject to local approval by the Competition Commission.

The key reason to acquire a predominantly digital marketing agency, according to Haydn Townsend, Accenture Interactive’s Managing Director for South Africa, is that: “King James are much more than an agency. It is a well-oiled and combined communication practice. This is what we were looking for to be able to build out an end-end solution for clients when combined with our existing offering.”

How did this come about?

Townsend says: “We had been building out a strategy for growth and one of the key pillars of this strategy is to augment our small communication practice within Accenture Interactive Africa.

“There are two ways to do this – we either build or buy. We thoroughly explored those options. While we have a big head start in service design and technology, in communication we deemed the gap too huge to close organically.”

Alistair King, Founder and Chief Creative Officer, adds: “I think the industry just assumed we were committed to remaining independent, so Hayden Townsend’s initial approach was fairly cautious and speculative. I suspect he was surprised when we said ‘Sure, let’s chat.’ The truth is we have long admired Accenture Interactive’s business model and have always felt that we would fit right in. The right time; the right suitor.”

The next logical step was Accenture

Says King: “If I look back at our 24-year journey, we’ve been evolving constantly and consistently as brand communication has shifted. We started out as a traditional agency and then slowly added design, PR, digital, social and retail capabilities along the way. The next logical step for us is what Accenture can bring. 

“While we will continue to deliver our existing business individually, it’s really when we combine the King James offer with Accenture Interactive, then with strategy and consulting, technology and operations, that the magic will happen. It will transform us both and make us more compelling than we ever could be on our own,” concludes Townsend.

Source: Accenture/King James

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