LBi has bought the controlling shares of Bigmouthmedia in a deal which invests €40m (£35.3m) of capital in the company.
LBi is merging with Netherlands-based Obtineo, which is an amalgamation of Bigmouthmedia and €40m from capital investors, with LBi holding 51% of shares in the new business and retaining its trading name.
Bigmouthmedia shareholders will hold 25% of the business, with investors, including previous Bigmouthmedia investor Carlyle, holding the remaining 24%.
Head office will be in Amsterdam, with LBi chairman Fred Mulder, CEO Luke Taylor and CFO Huub Wezenberg holding the same positions in the new company.
The deal creates one of the largest digital marketing and technology companies in Europe, with clients including the Conservative Party, Eurostar and ActionAid.
LBi ranked third in the nma Top 100 Interactive Agencies 2009 guide, with a fee income of £34.28m for the year to December 2008 and 341 UK staff.
Search specialist Bigmouthmedia ranked top in the search rankings in last year’s nma Marketing Services Guide, with a total UK income of £13.96m and a UK staff of 113.
Global staff numbers for the combined company will be approximately 1,800 in 15 countries, while new media age understands no redundancies are expected at Bigmouthmedia.
The deal comes just over three years after Bigmouthmedia merged with German interactive marketing agency Global Media in a deal worth €60m, giving Bigmouthmedia offices across Europe (nma.co.uk 1 December 2006).
It’s not the first time LBi has invested in search companies, having previously acquired SEO specialist Netrank (nma.co.uk 31 January 2008).
Taylor said, “Combining these businesses will enable us to offer our clients digital marketing, consulting and technology services wherever they operate, all under one roof. This combination also solidifies our position as the European leader and enables us to strengthen our reach in the US, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.”