Omnicom Buys Search Agency Resolution Media

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Omnicom Group Inc., the world's largest agency holding company, bought Chicago search engine marketing firm Resolution Media in a move that begins an era of mergers and acquisitions for the booming search marketing space.

Resolution handles search engine marketing and optimization for clients like Bosch Tools, Design Toscano, Chicago Mercantile Exchange and The Chicago Tribune, which also is a client of Omnicom. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

"We certainly didn't need to sell," said Matt Spiegel, previously president and now managing director of Resolution Media. "But we saw this as an opportunity to join what's today the largest agency holding company. This opportunity allows us to leverage access to market resources and clients."

The agency's employee count, name and location stay unchanged. Resolution Media now is part of Omnicom Media Group alongside brands like OMD Worldwide, PHD Network, Novus Print Media, Icon International and Full Circle Entertainment. Resolution Media creates SEM programs based on direct marketing principles. It works with major search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask Jeeves.

Omnicom's purchase may signal more M&A activity in the coming months as search firms ramp up their visibility. Search marketing already accounts for at least 40 percent of all online advertising spent to connect with consumers and businesses.

Prior to this deal, British-based Aegis PLC's Isobar agency holding firm in December bought search engine marketing agency iProspect, Watertown, MA, for $50 million. IProspect is one of the top SEM firms along with shops like icrossing, Oneupweb, Efficient Frontier and Avenue A/Razorfish.

Most large agency holding companies like WPP Group, Interpublic Group of Companies, Havas and Publicis offer search marketing through their various agency networks. But these conglomerates largely lack a standalone SEM agency with industry-wide influence.

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