WPP Digital buys minority stake in nPario

WPP Digital has bought a $5 million strategic minority stake in technology services provider nPario, the companies said May 17.

The investment will help both companies develop services to help marketers improve audience insight and digital campaigns. NPario will integrate WPP’s online and offline data into its platform.

“The core interest from WPP was our expertise in the digital world and building ad products,” said Bassel Ojjeh, CEO and president of nPario. “The other attraction was that we can store an infinite amount of data and retrieve it really quickly.”

“WPP clients are saying they’re spending money on digital and offline,” he added. “They’d like to understand how campaigns are doing across channel.”

Ojjeh said nPario will use the funding to perform research and development and increase marketing spend to build the company’s presence on both the East and West Coasts. The company will also establish an office in New York “to collaborate with WPP Digital,” said Ojjeh, though he wouldn’t reveal when the office will open or the size of its staff.

“Right now, we’ll start with a small team,” he said.

WPP will assume two seats on the five-person nPario board. Nick Nyhan, founder of Dynamic Logic and chief digital officer of Kantar, and David Spitz, EVP of strategy and corporate development at WPP Digital, will fill the seats.

The Dublin-based holding company employs more than 146,000 people in 2,400 offices in 107 countries. Its agencies include OgilvyOne Worldwide, VML and Wunderman. WPP Digital is its acquisitions and strategic investments arm.

NPario clients include gaming company Electronic Arts, delivery provider Aramex, and international telecommunications firms Jawwal and Umniah. The company is based in Palo Alto, Calif.

WPP could not be reached immediately for comment, but the unit said in a statement that the investment “continues WPP’s strategy of partnering and investing in measurable marketing disciplines.”

In February, WPP Digital merged four of its agencies into Possible Worldwide, combining New York-based Schematic, Cincinnati-based Bridge Worldwide, Singapore-based Blue and New Delhi-based Quasar.

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