Digital agency Hugo & Cat has today been acquired by IPG’s FutureBrand. The sale of this highly strategic agency illustrates how digital consultancy is increasingly central to brand strategy and development.
We are seeing a move away from capability driven deals where acquirers are filling gaps in delivery, to acquirers seeking high-level thinkers to develop and modernise their overall offering at a strategic level.
FutureBrand, owned by IPG, is the ‘Creative Future Company’, a brand strategy and brand experience agency that defines and delivers future brand experiences. Hugo & Cat is a top digital brand engagement agency with 80 employees and £6m Turnover. Its clients include Sony, Royal Mail, Tourism Ireland, IKEA and Stanley Black & Decker.
Patrick Smith, CEO at FutureBrand Worldwide, said of the acquisition: “Our clients are building brands in a rapidly changing digital world and the rules that governed traditional branding have changed beyond recognition. There will always be a role for business transformation through commercially informed brand strategy, and we are already the clear category leader in that area, but it now needs to include the delivery of brand ecosystems informed by digital experience design and real-time customer insight and data. For us, Hugo & Cat represents more than the addition of world-class digital thinking and delivery to our already successful in-house digital capability. It means reinventing branding for the 21st century in a way that reflects the new challenges our clients face as they grow and change.”
Rachael Scott and Johannes Smith, co-founders of Hugo & Cat, added: “We have built our company around the passionate belief that digital has the power to transform business. Our combination of strategy, storytelling and experience design has allowed us to do extraordinary things for clients and brands over the last 11 years. Joining the FutureBrand family, and the Interpublic Group of companies, allows us to take that offer to new markets and solve even bigger challenges for clients looking for competitive advantage in a digital world. We chose FutureBrand because together we can create a compelling offer for global clients who know their success lies at the intersection of business, brand and digital experience. We are very excited about what the future holds.”
SI Partners identified FutureBrand as a potential buyer and negotiated the transaction to completion after a highly competitive process led by Tristan Rice, Managing Partner. Johannes Smith commented, “We chose SI Partners to advise us on the sale of Hugo & Cat due to their substantial industry knowledge and their personal approach. They’ve firmly delivered on both.”