- Omnicom has acquired Flywheel Digital, an e-commerce firm, from Ascential for $835 million, in line with a news release. The deal is anticipated to shut in Q1 2024, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.
- Launched in 2014, Flywheel provides solutions that help hundreds of brands sell goods on digital platforms resembling Amazon, Walmart and Alibaba. Services span commerce operations, media execution and market intelligence, all supported by the Flywheel Commerce Cloud.
- Flywheel, which has about 2,000 employees, will sit as a practice area inside Omnicom and be led by Doug Painter, formerly Ascential’s CEO. Omnicom looks to link Flywheel’s troves of transaction data with its own audience and behavioral insights as retail media gains prominence.
Omnicom is further rounding out its performance marketing and retail media capabilities with the acquisition of Flywheel, a firm that manages a high volume of product sales and billions of dollars value of ad spend annually for top CPG marketers including Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Clorox. The acquisition follows Ascential’s recent move to reposition Flywheel as its leading digital brand. Last week, the corporate integrated 11 businesses that previously sat under the Ascential Digital Commerce unit into Flywheel.
The appetite amongst large ad-holding groups for performance media and e-commerce firms spiked earlier within the pandemic when consumers began shopping online in higher numbers and with greater frequency. Retail media networks that leverage first-party shopper data to assist CPG marketers higher goal their ads have also develop into popular with the pending deprecation of third-party cookies. But macroeconomic pressures, including soaring rates of interest, have cooled M&A activity for the agency category of late, making the dimensions and scope of the Flywheel deal noteworthy.
Omnicom CEO John Wren cited research that forecasts global e-commerce sales will increase by 50% to succeed in $7 trillion dollars over the subsequent two years, in a press statement across the news. Such numbers point to the potential opportunity for agency growth that Omnicom sees. Flywheel generated roughly $300 million in revenue for the 12 months led to June 2023, in line with an investor presentation shared by Omnicom.
“The acquisition of Flywheel significantly broadens our reach and influence within the rapidly expanding digital commerce and retail media sectors, two of the fastest-growing parts of the industry,” said Wren. “Together, we’ll seamlessly integrate our offerings across retail and brand media, digital and in-store commerce, and CRM, ultimately delivering superior results for our clients.”
Omnicom goals to wed Flywheel’s heaps of transactional insights derived from relationships with over 4,500 brands to its own bets on first-party data and commerce know-how. The agency network last fall launched a connected-commerce consulting and online retail services offering called Transact.
Omnicom reported its Q3 earnings earlier in October. Organic revenue growth, a key measure of agency health, was up 3.3% year-over-year to $3.58 billion, barely above analyst estimates.
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