M&C Saatchi Group has pulled out the company chequebook to buy digital agency Lean Mean Fighting Machine for an estimated £6m, which will see the brand folded into the main agency.
The only UK agency to win Digital Agency of the Year at Cannes, Lean Mean Fighting Machine’s founders Sam Ball, Tom Bazeley, Dave Bedwood and Dave Cox and their entire staff will join M&C Saatchi in June. The founders met at Tribal DDB, and set up the agency in 2004.
Its portfolio of clients, which includes Unilever, De Beers and the Land Rover account it shares with M&C-owned direct and digital agency Lida, will move across with the agency.
With the Lean Mean Fighting Machine name disappearing, managing partner Beazley has his wife to thank for not having a permanent reminder of the brand. He explained: “It’s only my wife’s persistence that has stopped me tattooing the Lean Mean Fighting Machine logo up my arm. I love this agency like a weird adopted child, but after ten years the time feels right to mix things up a bit.
“Joining M&C Saatchi will allow us to keep our spirit but practice on a bigger stage. Just like Lean Mean Fighting Machine, M&C Saatchi is a challenger brand – albeit on a much grander scale – and it’s exciting to be jumping into the middle of such a well known agency.”
M&C Saatchi UK chief executive Lisa Thomas – the founding partner of Lida – added: “Lean Mean Fighting Machine’s sense of adventure and innovation perfectly complement M&C Saatchi’s entrepreneurial spirit. Likewise, their industry defining skills across all digital channels will augment our extensive digital capabilities, allowing us to unlock more creative opportunities for our clients.”
Creative partners Bedwood (pictured, second from left) and Ball (far right) will report to M&C Saatchi’s executive creative director, Elspeth Lynn. Bazeley (second from right) will report to Thomas (centre) and become part of the M&C leadership team. Technical partner Cox (far left) will take on the role of chief innovation officer.
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