Havas Media acquires Virginia Hyland’s indie agency

Havas Media has bought Virginia Hyland’s independent media agency, Hyland, for an undisclosed sum, pushing Havas Media’s headcount to more than 100 in the Sydney office.

Hyland’s team will move into the Havas Village in Sydney next month as the ‘Hyland Division’, bringing with them a portfolio of clients that includes Coty, Church & Dwight, Etihad, Kitchen Aid and Deliveroo.

Hyland, who founded the agency in 2005 as an alternative offering to that of the big holding groups, will become managing director of the Hyland Division, working with chair Mike Wilson and chief executive Matt Houltham on the senior leadership team.

Houltham, Hyland, and Wilson

“The decision to form this partnership was one of the biggest I’ve ever had to make,” Hyland said.

“In choosing Havas Media Group, I know we have found a partner that will continue to celebrate our agility and creative team spirit, illustrated already through Havas’ history of acquiring and embracing entrepreneurial businesses.

“In the new COVID world we can continue to do great work that delivers success for clients whilst accessing a greater pool of resource and capabilities. Both businesses enjoy similar values and philosophies and our centres of excellence are extremely complementary, which will provide an amazing one stop destination for marketers looking for an alternative integrated agency approach.”

It’s a show of strength for the French holding group at a time of economic turmoil and uncertainty. Wilson said: “I have known Virginia for 20 years and she is one of the smartest operators I know. She has built a great team around her, who have a great pedigree for delivering consistent, high-quality outputs and results for clients, which has been key to the agency’s ongoing success.”

CEO Matt Houltham noted that Hyland’s capabilities – media planning and buying, research, social, creative and content – fit into Havas’ offering, and offers scale for the business and stability for clients.

“Bringing HYLAND into the Havas Media Group is great news especially in today’s environment,” Houltham said.

“It gives us further scale to continue on our growth trajectory and enhances our ability to deliver the broadest range of media and content experiences for our clients. It also provides further stability to clients at a time when they need it most.”

Havas Media has a local presence in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland, and 120 outposts around the world. Global CEO Peter Mears added: “Hyland’s integrated approach to media aligns with Havas Media Group’s philosophy of creating meaningful media experiences (Mx) – a process that goes beyond the basics of reach and frequency to combine the right connections, context and content to influence consumer behaviour. We are thrilled to have them join the group.”

Last month, Church & Dwight – the parent company of brands including Nair and Batiste – expanded its relationship with Hyland, increasing the agency’s remit on the account it won last November. And it appointed Maria Casas as head of social. Havas Media confirmed that all of Hyland’s staff will remain in their existing roles under the new ownership structure.

Earlier this year, Hyland was among the first batch of members of Independent Media Agencies of Australia, a new industry body. At the time, Hyland told Mumbrella: “I could probably count on one hand the amount of times we’ve been invited as an agency to be part of a pitch.

“So for me, it’s really making people stop and think, ‘Actually, do we have enough diversity on the pitch list? Or do we have a lot of very similar agencies offering similar things?’”


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