BWM founders admit they were ‘cautious’ about selling agency for second time

bwm foundersBWM Group founders Rob Belgiovane, Paul Williams and Jamie Mackay are set to remain with the group for the next seven years following its acquisition by the Dentsu Aegis Network, but admitted they were “very cautious” about selling the agency for a second time to an agency holding group.

The Japanese marketing giant has bought out 51 per cent of the group, with the the remaining 49 per cent of the company remaining in the ownership of Belgiovane, Williams and Mackay which is set to be acquired by the network over the next seven years.

It is the second time the agency has been owned by a holding group, after the trio bought it back from Enero in 2012 after six years of ownership.

Speaking to Mumbrella Belgiovane said: “We’re in for a minimum of the next seven years. We’re definitely hanging around.”

As part of the deal, Belgiovane has been invited to join Dentsu’s regional creative board while Mackay will be joining Dentsu’s regional planning body.

“That gives a lot of insight into the Asia-Pacific area and we’ll be able to bring a lot of learnings back for our clients on a regular basis,” said Belgiovane.

On the plan after the next seven years, he said: “There’s no set agenda at this stage. Suffice to say none of us are in retire mode, it’s quite the opposite.”

The agency was founded in 1996 and bought up by Enero, then known as Photon, in 2006. However the partners bought it back in November 2012 for $7.5m, with Williams describing the move at the time as “a shot in the arm”.

On the choice to again sell the agency Belgiovane said there was “a number of reasons”, adding the team was “very cautious after our Enero experience”.

“One is that we are the primary creative agency in the group, unlike in a lot of other groups that have a lot of creative agencies.

“In this particular model there are a lot of media assets and there’s opportunities for us to leverage those media assets as a creative agency which is a unique opportunity in the Australian market at this point.”

Miranda Ward


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