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WPP to acquire Rockfish Interactive

WPP Digital has agreed to acquire digital marketing agency Rockfish Interactive Corp.. The deal is expected to close within the next 15 business days, said Kenny Tomlin, Rockfish Interactive CEO and founder.

Tomlin declined to comment on the acquisition’s terms, including reports that WPP had offered to purchase Rockfish for $40 million. ClickZ first reported the acquisition talks last month.

Rockfish will operate as an independent agency within the WPP Digital network, said Tomlin. He will remain in his position and report directly to WPP Digital CEO Mark Read, he added.

“We’re delighted that under [Tomlin’s] leadership, we will be continuing to develop the Rockfish brand and helping the team to maintain the rapid growth they have shown since they started in 2006,” Read said, in a statement.

Tomlin said the deal positions Rockfish to expand its presence. “Our goal is to be global,” he said.

All of Rockfish’s approximately 150 employees will be retained, and the agency expects to add 40 staffers this year, said Tomlin.

“We’re hiring developers, creatives, account people and analytics people,” he said. “Every department in our company is growing.”

Tomlin added that the firm has “always been strong from a technology and creative standpoint” and it has been adding talent to its analytics and digital media departments over the past year.

All of Rockfish’s clients will be retained, said Tomlin. Clients include Procter & Gamble, Walmart Stores, Cisco Systems, United Healthcare Services, EA Sports, Sam’s Club and Tyson Foods.

WPP Digital is WPP Group’s acquisitions and strategic-investments division. The network includes marketing firms such as digital agency Possible Worldwide and technology services provider nPario.

WPP Digital combined four of its digital shops to launch Possible Worldwide in February and acquired a minority stake in nPario in May.

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