Toyota relationship leads to Gemba’s first agency acquisition

Sports and entertainment specialist Gemba as signalled the start of a bullish period of growth with a deal to acquire the sponsorship management division of Bullet Marketing.tamworth-country-music-festival-toyota
The deal will see Gemba take over the running of major events sponsored by Bullet and Gemba’s mutual client, Toyota.

Gemba CEO Rob Mills said the opportunity was a chance for Gemba to grow its relationship with the music industry through Toyota’s sponsorship of events including Tamworth Music Festival and A Day on the Green.


Mills: “The acquisition will further build our capabilities in the music industry and with community programs”

“When the prospect emerged to acquire the sponsorship management component we jumped at the opportunity,” Mills said.

“We liked the way Bullet operated and the acquisition will further build our capabilities in the music industry and with community programs.”

Bullet was originally formed by Oddfellows (now part of Dentsu) in 1998 to manage specific Toyota sponsorships and promotions and has also worked closely with the Toyota dealer network.

The deal will see Bullet’s sponsorship management division merged into Gemba over the next 18 months and comes as Toyota moves its management operations to Melbourne.

Keith Blanket, who founded Bullet and took full ownership of the agency in 2002 said the decision to hand the sponsorship management division to Gemba made sense in light of Toyota’s relocation.

The agency will continue to work with Toyota on other projects, including with Toyota’s dealer network.

“Gemba’s broad sport and entertainment remit with Toyota will ensure that the sponsorships managed by Bullet will be well-executed and integrated into the broader Toyota brand strategy,” Blanket said.

“About 30% of the business is working on the sponsorships,” he said.

He said Bullet would continue its work in other areas with Toyota as well as with other clients.

Mills said the Bullet acquisition was the beginning of a period of growth by acquisition for Gemba after it launched a push into China earlier in the year.

“We have completed a comprehensive audit of agencies and consultancies in Asia-Pacific, Europe and the USA,” Mills said.

“In the coming months we will be approaching a select number of businesses to gauge their interest in either acquisitions or mergers in order to continue to build our credentials and growth in key markets.”

Mills said the next stage of growth will be funded through a combination of retained profits in the business and debt for larger acquisitions.

“There is no set date for announcing future acquisitions as it is dependent on identifying businesses with the appropriate capability and cultural fit,” he said.

“Gemba is in discussions with other agencies and consultancies at the moment in Asia Pacific and Europe. This is an going process for Gemba. We are focussed on businesses that can complement our existing offers in insights, strategy and communications focused on the sport & entertainment industry. We have a strong focus on businesses that will also enhance Gemba’s existing digital service offer.”


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