SA digital marketing firm in R1.5bn merger

incuBeta CEO Alan Lipschitz (left) and DQ&A Media Group CEO Rick van Boekel (right).
incuBeta CEO Alan Lipschitz (left) and DQ&A Media Group CEO Rick van Boekel (right).

Johannesburg - Two digital marketing specialist companies have inked what is being described as one of the biggest mergers in the industry to date in South Africa.

South Africa’s incuBeta and DQ&A from the Netherlands said on Thursday that they’ve inked a R1.5bn merger.

SA-based incuBeta has been providing digital advertising services and media solutions since its inception in 1995. Its group companies include Clicks2Customers, NMP (UK), NMP South Africa and Interface

Meanwhile, DQ&A Media Group, which was founded in 2001, is a digital marketing company with clients in Europe and the United States.

Alan Lipschitz, incuBeta chief executive officer, told Fin24 that the R1.5bn merger figure refers to combined group turnover on media revenue between the two companies.

“As far as local digital mergers are concerned I’d say this is most likely the biggest to date,” Lipschitz told Fin24 in an emailed response.

The combined companies are expected to specialise in programmatic media, search and web analytics. Their clients are also set to range from SA Tourism, Old Mutual, Europcar, MWEB and Kulula.com to OUTsurance.

Both groups have Cape Town offices, with incuBeta companies also being operational in the UK, Australia, Singapore, China and Kenya. DQ&A Media Group brands are active in the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and the USA.

“With access to new markets and services, this merger represents a big step towards us becoming the world’s best company in the digital media space, especially from a performance marketing and campaign-delivery perspective,” Lipschitz said.

The South African digital marketing agency landscape, though, is no stranger to mergers, especially with international players.

In 2014, global advertising giant WPP bought a controlling stake in South African digital agency Quirk. In 2013, WPP also purchased a majority stake in strategic communications company Cerebra and it acquired digital agency NATIVE.

But Lipschitz said the deal between incuBeta and DQ&A is different.

“A lot of this consolidation has been in the form of large network agencies coming to our shores and acquiring local digital businesses – this deal is different in that we are the drivers, driving global growth from our local base, as opposed to being the South African office of another international company,” Lipschitz told Fin24.

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