Digital agency Essence today announces its acquisition of the San Francisco-based media agency Black Bag Advertising in a move that signals the agency’s ambitious growth plans for the US.

The addition of a West Coast operation stems from the agency’s desire to deepen its commitment to its US based clients, build on the success of the agency’s New York operation as well as expanding its client base across the US.

Black Bag Advertising is an analytics and results driven media agency co-founded in 2004 by Eric Yang to provide media strategy, planning and buying, campaign management and analysis to clients in the automotive, banking, insurance, retail, and consumer packaged goods industries.

The acquisition of Black Bag Advertising follows a raft of major developments for Essence including the expansion of its Europe, Middle East and African operations and the acquisition of social media agency Punktilio in the UK last year.

Essence, which was set up in 2005 and counts Google, eBay and Expedia among its clients, has secured billings of £170 million and EBIT of over £3 million in the last financial year, while international sales have grown by 570% between 2009 and 2011.

In recognition of this success, Essence has been ranked #1 in The Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 and The Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100, which identifies Britain’s private firms with fastest growing overseas sales, #2 in Media Momentum's 'Top 20 Larger Digital Company in Europe' list, and #5 Media (#1 independent) agency in NMA's 2012 Top 100.

Matt Isaacs, Chief Executive Officer, Essence, comments:

“Expansion in the US is critical to our growth strategy and we expect this acquisition to be the first of a number. Essence already enjoys a reputation in EMEA and North America and establishing a base on the West Coast, through the acquisition of Black Bag Advertising, was the natural next step. The fit between Essence and Black Bag Advertising is perfect; we share the same insight and innovation-driven approach to client work, as well as the same cultural ethos. We are excited about what our combined skills and experience will enable us to achieve in the future”.

Eric Yang, CEO, Black Bag Advertising, comments: “We have always aspired to take our approach beyond the US and becoming part of Essence Digital will enable us to fulfil this ambition. The team at Essence is pushing boundaries in the digital advertising space, working with some of the world’s most exciting companies in Google, eBay, Ancestry and eHarmony, and we cannot wait to play our part in driving the agency’s continued growth.

For further information, please contact:
Vicky Beaney at Eulogy!
Tel: + 44 20 7927 9999

Published on: 6:00PM on 18th September 2012