Omnicom has recently announced its acquisition of Flywheel Digital for a net cash purchase price of around $835 million, marking its largest acquisition to date.
Founded in 2014, Flywheel operates as the digital commerce division of Ascential, a UK-based B2B media, events, and analytics firm that also owns the renowned Cannes Lions advertising festival. In 2018, Ascential acquired Flywheel for an initial sum of around $60 million, with the potential for an additional $400 million in earn-outs over a three-year period.
Flywheel specializes in providing services that assist brands in selling their products on digital marketplaces managed by prominent companies like Amazon.com, Walmart, and Alibaba. It provides brands with a comprehensive set of resources and insights pertaining to retail media and e-commerce. These offerings encompass product management across diverse online marketplaces, insights into competitive pricing, the selection of optimal product descriptions and imagery, and the assessment of product performance metrics.
Omnicom, the parent company of agencies like BBDO, OMD, and TBWA, is strategically banking on Flywheel’s integration to enhance its digital commerce and retail media services, ultimately making them more appealing to clients. With this acquisition, Omnicom will welcome approximately 2,000 Flywheel team members and its co-founding leadership, which includes the current Ascential CEO, Duncan Painter. Painter will now lead Omnicom’s ecommerce and retail media practice.
“E-commerce sales worldwide are set to increase by 50%, reaching about $7 trillion dollars by 2025. The acquisition of Flywheel significantly broadens our reach and influence in the rapidly expanding digital commerce and retail media sectors, two of the fastest-growing parts of the industry. Together, we will seamlessly integrate our offerings across retail and brand media, digital and in-store commerce, and CRM, ultimately delivering superior results for our clients, said John Wren, Chairman and CEO of Omnicom.
The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2024 and is subject to Ascential shareholder approval, regulatory approvals, and customary closing conditions.