Dentsu International - known as Dentsu Aegis Network until 2020 - is the umbrella for all non-domestic operations of Japanese marketing giant Dentsu. It was formed in 2013 from the merger of the existing Dentsu Network entity with newly acquired UK-based marketing group Aegis plc, whose biggest subsidiary was the worldwide media network Carat. Uniquely among the top tier of marketing companies, Aegis had for almost its entire history had no traditional advertising network within its portfolio, operating instead as a media independent organisation. Nevertheless, the group built up a collection of other interests over the years including the digital network Isobar and second-string media agency Vizeum. Its independence made the group a prime candidate for takeover from 2005 onwards. Several bidders made formal or informal offers, but the most persistent suitor was Vincent Bolloré, chairman of rival group Havas, who became the biggest shareholder in Aegis with the unspoken goal of encouraging a merger of the two groups. However, his repeated attempts to win a seat on the Aegis board were rebuffed, and he eventually abandoned the idea of combining Aegis and Havas in 2011. Instead, the following year, Bolloré gave his support to a proposed takeover of Aegis by Dentsu for £3.2bn (approx $5bn). Dentsu's existing operations outside Japan were combined with Aegis. As a result, the business now houses a large collection of separate brands outside Japan. Most of its creative agencies were combined in 2020 under the banner of DentsuMcGarryBowen. Carat and Vizeum are the main media networks, now partnered by dentsu x, while Isobar is a full service digital network, supported by social media specialist iProspect. A series of other acquisitions have swelled the portfolio. The most notable is data-marketing and CRM giant Merkle, now a major global business. Others include B2B network Gyro and sports & entertainment specialist MKTG. Former DDB CEO Wendy Clark is set to join the group towards the end of 2020 as its new CEO. Her predecessor Tim Andree stepped down in 2019 for health reasons, though he remains a director. Dentsu Aegis Network contributed around 60% of Dentsu group's total revenues in 2019, or approx $5.1bn. The contribution from Dentsu International slipped to 58% of group revenues in Covid-impacted 2020. Revenues slipped by 13% on an organic basis to approx $4.9bn (Y519.6bn). Carat is the biggest business within the division contributing around $1.2bn in revenues in 2020 (according to AdAge estimates), followed by Merkle at $1.1bn, iProspect (including Vizeum) at $803m and Isobar at $560m. The group has announced plans to consolidate all the 160 or more brands in the international portfolio into just six by the end of 2021.
Capsule checked 28th May 2020
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Marketer Moves 12th Jan 2022: New global COO at Dentsu International. See Marketer Moves (members only).
Marketer Moves 7th Sep 2021: New CEO TBC at Dentsu UK & Ireland. See Marketer Moves (members only).
Marketer Moves 19th Jul 2021: New global creative leader at Dentsu International. See Marketer Moves (members only).
Adbrands Daily Update 21st Apr 2021: Dentsu launched its first dedicated global healthcare practice under the banner Dentsu Health. The new division will consolidate what is currently a team of around 2,000 health marketers spread between the group's various agencies including Merkle, 360i, Carat and others. Matt McNally joins as global president, based in New York. He was previously CEO of healthcare technology provider Outcome Health, but before that spent 14 years working within Publicis Groupe's healthcare operations. In terms of combined billings from its various constituent parts, Dentsu Health launches as one of the five biggest healthcare agencies in the US.
Adbrands Daily Update 7th Dec 2020: Even before Covid, Dentsu was already one of the industry's worst performing groups. It has registered a decline in organic revenues for seven straight quarters since Q1 2019. That's a feat unmatched by even MDC Partners or WPP, both whom have at least managed just one quarter of growth over the same period. The full year decline is expected to come in at as much as -12.5% (from -10.9% for the none months to-date). Worst affected are the group's international operations, formerly Dentsu Aegis Network. Dentsu had already warned of a massive consolidation of that extensive portfolio of more than 150 separate companies into just six global brands. Now the group warns that thousands of jobs will go along with all those other brands. This week it announced a 12.5% reduction in headcount in operations outside Japan, equivalent to around 6,000 staff. Total cost of the downsizing will be approx £640m, most of it in the final quarter of 2020. However, the group hopes to start making savings of as much as £400m a year from next year.
Adbrands Daily Update 4th Nov 2020: Heineken made two announcements regarding global marketing assignments. The one that garnered the widest media coverage was the fact that it has appointed Publicis Groupe to launch a new dedicated agency to handle global creative for the brand. The new entity is to be named Le Pub, and will be headquartered in a converted bar in central Amsterdam. It is headed by Publicis Worldwide's global CCO Bruno Bertelli. However, Publicis already managed global creative for the Heineken brand. More financially significant, perhaps, is the news that Heineken will consolidate global media for all its brands with Dentsu International's Red Star entity, which already handles the company's media in selected markets. Previously the business was split globally between Dentsu and Publicis. The French group will retain media only in its home market of France.
Adbrands Daily Update 28th Sep 2020: As expected for more than a year, Dentsu confirmed it will drop the Dentsu Aegis Network name for its international operations, starting next month. All subsidiaries will now operate under a unified Dentsu branding, although the group will continue to report its domestic and international operations as separate divisions. Dentsu originally announced plans to phase out the Aegis name in July last year.
Adbrands Daily Update 13th May 2020: Dentsu has begun the process of consolidating its non-Japanese operations with the creation of the uncomfortably named Dentsumcgarrybowen network. This will combine all creative operations outside Japan under what was previously the McGarryBowen banner. Key additions will be the parent group's several creative outposts across Asia Pacific, such as Dentsu Jayme Syfu in the Philippines and BWM Dentsu in Australia. The resulting business will have more than 3,000 staff spread between 33 offices in 24 countries. Merlee Jayme, previously chair and chief creative officer of Dentsu Jayme Syfu, was appointed as global co-president alongside McGarryBowen's Jon Dupuis. Gordon Bowen remains global chairman with Ned Crowley as chief creative officer.
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