Williams Lea Tag boosts omni-channel proposition with THP buy

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Friday 12 October 2018

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Williams Lea Tag (WLT) has acquired on-demand digital content and social media agency THP.

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Kassler: "It felt like the fit was really good"

Based in Toronto, Canada, and also operating across North America, the UK and Europe, THP creates visual and social content through a comprehensive suite of on-demand services.

Founded in 2013, the firm works with more than 680 food, beverage and consumer goods brands including Campbell’s, Chiquita, ConAgra, Kraft Heinz, Molson Coors, Nestle and Unilever.

The acquisition, which was completed last week, is WLT’s second to be made under Advent International’s ownership, following on from its acquisition of computer-generated imagery specialist Taylor James last month.

It forms part of a programme to enhance the business that will likely cost around €100m (£87m).

WLT group chief executive David Kassler said he was hoping to keep on all of THP’s existing staff and management team, which includes 80 creative professionals and a number of other employees working in administrative roles.

“We heard through one of our advisors that Amanda Riva – the founder and CEO of THP – was looking for investment for the business to take it to the next phase,” Kassler told PrintWeek.

“So myself and a couple of other people went to visit her and her team in Canada a number of times and it felt like the fit was really good.

“There was an incredibly strong entrepreneurial drive both from her and her team and a very common vision about what clients were needing today in terms of the kind of content that needed to be created and the kind of quality and fast turnaround that they were needing.”

He added: “They work with a similar client base – some overlap with our clients but there are a lot of new names that we’re not working with today in North America. And clearly a lot of our existing clients can benefit from this new service line as well.

“Amanda had been talking to a number of other partners but decided to work with Williams Lea Tag.”

Riva added: “I’m incredibly excited to join the Williams Lea Tag family, especially at a time where agencies are focused on finding new service models to meet the evolving needs of marketers.

“THP’s model hit a sweet spot for our customers by offering an on-demand, low cost, high volume process for delivering digital content and social media services.”

Looking forward, Kassler – who was appointed in December – said he expected to announce “probably one more” acquisition at WLT before the end of the year.

“What we do is effectively take a creative idea and turn it into reality across all of the different channels. The reason for doing acquisitions is to add new capabilities that we don’t have today, usually on a channel basis,” he added.

“Anything we do is not about buying volume, scale or customers in a sense, it’s about building capability and also technology in some cases.”

WLT, which will now turn over around €1.25bn (£1.1bn), has production facilities in 40 countries and 10,000 employees worldwide.

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