Havas boosts data-driven offer with Search Lab deal

HAVAS Search Lab 2Havas Group is continuing to bolster its digital and data credentials with the acquisition of integrated performance marketing agency Search Laboratory, a specialist in analytics and one of the few Google partners in the UK.

Founded in 2005, Search Laboratory operates under the ethos of “searching for the truth in data” with offices in Leeds, London, Austin and New York and a staff of about 150.

The agency will now be integrated into Havas Media Group, reporting into the UK business as a core part of its offering alongside Havas Media, Havas Entertainment and Havas Market.

Havas maintains the acquisition will further strengthen Havas Media’s digital marketing and data capabilities, both within the UK and internationally, as well as enabling it to tap into a new talent pool outside of its existing offices in London and Manchester.

The agency says the move is part of a global transformation plan to deliver more data led media experiences for both local and global clients. It is claimed that Search Laboratory’s expertise in data and analytics will complement Havas’ offering to help brands to activate their data in “more meaningful ways”.

Search Laboratory is one of only a handful of Google Marketing Platform Sales Partners in the UK, offering implementation, training and ongoing support for the platform’s suite of tools, including Google Analytics 360, Search Ads 360, Display & Video 360 and Optimise 360.

The agency’s client list includes automation software giant UiPath, private equity firm Appian, First Rail, Wren Kitchens, Riviera Travel and Burton Snowboards.

Search Laboratory’s current management team, led by CEO Chris Attewell (pictured right) and founder and executive chairman Ian Harris, will continue to lead the agency.

Havas Media Group UK & Ireland chief executive Patrick Affleck (pictured left) commented: “Search Laboratory will further boost our digital and data capabilities for our clients. They are market leaders in data driven digital and performance marketing, and as the industry prepares for a new, cookieless future, their advanced data and analytics services will enable our clients to better activate and extract strategic value from their first party data.

“With a highly experienced senior team and a diverse client base spanning several verticals, Search Laboratory represents an exciting growth opportunity for Havas Media Group in the UK and internationally.”

Attewell added: “We feel like we have found a natural new home with Havas Media Group. Our visions and ethos are very much aligned, and service offerings complement each other well. This is the next phase in our growth story, and we can’t wait to work together and open up mutual opportunities for our staff and clients alike.”

Late last month, Havas also bought independent Chinese creative agency Front Networks, which employs over 200 staff and specialises in digital and social content for clients including BMW, Rolls-Royce, Vivo, Microsoft, Columbia, Casarte, Bank of China and Nestlé. The terms of both deals have not been disclosed.

However, a recent report revealed that data and digital technology-driven companies are attracting record investment in M&A activity, spearheaded by rampant private equity funds, and accounted for nearly half (47%) of the $87bn (£64bn) worth of deals struck in 2021.

Despite the pandemic, the figures – published in the Ciesco 2021 Global M&A Review and 2022 Outlook in January – showed that, worldwide, the total number of transactions jumped 60% to 1,747 in 2021, compared to 1,092 deals in 2020.

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