South Korea-based Innocean Buys US Independent Shop David & Goliath

South Korea-based Innocean Buys US Independent Shop David & Goliath
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Seoul-based agency group Innocean Worldwide said Thursday that it has bought independent U.S. creative shop David & Goliath, a deal that unites two companies known for their work with South Korean automakers. Innocean valued the deal at up to $71.7 million.

Hyundai Motor Co.-backed Innocean got its start in 2005 as an in-house agency doing media buying for Hyundai and its sister company, KiaMotors Corp. Meanwhile, Los Angeles-based David & Goliath has been creative agency of record for Kia Motors America for 18 years; its other clients include Universal Studios, HBO, Jack in the Box and California Lottery.

Innocean said it bought 100 percent of the shares of David & Goliath, which was founded in 1999 and has about 200 people on staff. Innocean added that it plans to “aggressively expand business in the U.S.”

Greg Paull, co-founder and principal of R3, said Innocean is looking at the path of another South Korean agency group, Cheil Worldwide. Cheil started as Samsung‘s in-house agency and expanded with acquisitions including The Barbarian GroupIris Worldwide and McKinney.

“Innocean has always aimed to be the ‘next Cheil’ and build a global footprint around Hyundai,” Paull said. “David & Goliath have a long proven history on that client and will prove to be a far better option than a Korean startup in the U.S.”

Work from both Innocean and David & Goliath will appear in the Super Bowl next year. Innocean is handling creative work for Hyundai, an NFL sponsor, though there are few specifics, including how many ads will run during the game.

Source: South Korea-based Innocean Buys US Independent Shop David & Goliath

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