Japanese marketing giant Dentsu operates in North America through a number of subsidiaries, most of whom were for many years largely reliant on Japanese clients. All that has changed since 2008 when Dentsu kicked off a series of bold acquisitions in North America (and elsewhere), starting with highly regarded New York agency McGarryBowen. That deal effectively doubled the Japanese group's US revenues, and was followed by several other purchases including digital agencies 360i and Firstborn. Together these agencies transformed Dentsu's North American presence and paved the way for the parent group's subsequent purchase of Aegis. That deal added not just the Carat and Vizeum media networks but also digital specialists such as iProspect and Isobar. The group has been further expanded by a series of additional local acquisitions including design agency Character, PR agency Mitchell, sports marketer Mktg, Gyro, Merkle, multicultural agency Gravity and Canadian creative agency Grip. DentsuBos is another Canada-only agency, operating in Toronto and Montreal. Dentsu's North American operations now fall under the umbrella of Dentsu Aegis Network, but the Aegis brand is to be discontinued in 2020 in favour of a global unfied Dentsu brand. Nick Brien stepped down as CEO Americas at the end of 2019, to be replaced by Jacki Kelley. Dentsu's declared revenues from the US were around $1.8bn in 2018, or a little under 20% of the group total (compared to 36% of the total from the domestic Japanese market). The group's single biggest agency by US revenues is Merkle. As a result of a series of bolt-on acquisitions, its US revenues have grown significantly since it was acquired in 2016. AdAge estimated US revenues of almost $660m in 2018, compared to less than $200m for all other local subsidiaries, including Carat and McGarryBowen.
Capsule checked 26th July 2019
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Historical snapshot information for Dentsu North America
Adbrands Daily Update 29th Aug 2019: Latest addition to Dentsu's US portfolio is Los Angeles-based MuteSix, a full-service agency that specialises in brand response advertising on Facebook, Google, Instagram and other social channels, often for smaller-budgeted clients and start-ups. Despite its comparatively small size - revenues around $17m last year - MuteSix manages an extensive roster of around 270 clients. The agency will operates under the umbrella of Dentsu's iProspect.
Adbrands Weekly Update 14th Dec 2017: The week's most significant account assignment was Subway's appointment of a new dedicated entity within Dentsu Aegis Network to handle creative and media for North America, the first time, the US and Canadian accounts have been bundled as one. New unit The Franchise will drawn upon McGarryBowen and Canada's DentsuBos for creative, and Carat for media, as well as other group-owned agencies. Billings are somewhere in the region of $500m annually.
Adbrands Weekly Update 29th Jun 2017: Former McCann chief Nick Brien returns to the industry's top table after several productive years as CEO of digital specialist iCrossing. He was named as CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network US & Americas, overseeing all that group's networks in the region from Carat and Vizeum to McGarryBowen, Merkle and Isobar. Brien takes over from DAN US CEO Rob Horler, who recently announced his departure, and outgoing Americas CEO Nigel Morris, who moves up to a new role as chief strategy & innovation officer. Originally head of IPG's UM media network, Brien was appointed as CEO of the McCann Worldgroup in 2010. However the next two years were marked by a series of challenges, prompting his departure in 2012. He is succeeded at iCrossing by US president Mike Parker.
Adbrands Weekly Update 11th Aug 2016: Hot on the heels of its deal for Gyro, Dentsu Aegis Network added another string to its bow with the acquisition of US CRM giant Merkle. The purchase will fill a significant hole in the group's US portfolio, which currently lacks strength in data-marketing. Terms were not disclosed, but media reports identified a valuation for Merkle of $1.5bn including debt. Dentsu said Merkle has revenues of $436m last year. DAN is buying out Merkle's majority shareholder, the investment fund Technology Crossover Ventures, and other investors. However, management and employees will collectively retain a minority holding in the business.
Adbrands Weekly Update 28th Jul 2016: Another independent bites the dust. Dentsu Aegis Network announced the acquisition of global B2B network Gyro for an undisclosed sum. The group had been jointly owned by private equity investors and management. CEO & CCO Christoph Becker will remain at the helm of an expanded network, which will absorb DAN's existing Interprise business. The latter's Stuart Giddings becomes global president, reporting to Becker. Gyro will also expand its presence into Latin America and Asia via DAN's other units in those regions, including Carat, iProspect and of course Dentsu itself. "We currently partner with independent partners [for media] and that is not ideal," said Becker. "This gives us a media powerhouse and propels our offering."
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