Sydney digital agency Vivant acquired by IBM

Sydney based digital and innovation agency Vivant has been acquired by IBM for an undisclosed sum, the two companies announced this morning.

Vivant’s founder and CEO, Anthony Farah, will take the role of Digital Strategy & iX Leader for IBM Australia and New Zealand as his company is folded into the global corporation’s digital agency.

Anthony Farah, founder and CEO of Vivant

“There are two aspects to the acquisition,” Farah told Mumbrella ahead of the announcement. “There’s a nice alignment in philosophy and there’s more we can offer clients as we move to being a full service agency.”

Vivant was founded in 2008 and boasts over 40 employees in Sydney and Melbourne. IBM iX has 36 locations globally including Australia.

Farah, who is prominent in Sydney’s tech startup scene as well as being a board member of Code Club Australia, told Mumbrella he sees IBM’s strength in the marketplace lying in its depth of research and the company’s ability to attract talent.

“We’re all competing for talent,” he said. “The thing that attracted us to IBM was the research, they spend over $6bn a year, including some facilities here.”

The acquisition extends IBM iX’s Australian operations with Vivant having established a niche in the local financial services and distribution industries through its design philosophy based on insights taken from behavioural science, data and technology.

“Customer experience is a critical element as our clients develop their business strategy,” said Paul Papas, Global Leader, IBM iX in a media statement announcing the acquisition. “IBM shares a similar design, consulting and management philosophy with Vivant and our combined teams will raise the bar for experience-led, design driven, digital reinvention.”

“This is an exciting direction for Vivant clients and employees. We now have scale and greater opportunity to address the growing needs of CEOs and innovation leaders willing to disrupt the market by seeking out new business models,” continued Farah in the media statement. “We see it as converging the best of big with the best of small.”

The acquisition is expected to close in the final quarter of 2017.


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