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Cheil Worldwide to invest in iris

Tuesday November 25, 2014 at 5:29pm
iris, the London-based global creative innovation network, is effectively being taken over by Cheil Worldwide, the Korean worldwide marketing agency group. Cheil has signed a deal to acquire a “significant initial investment” in iris which will potentially rise to 100% of the business over the next five years. The two companies said in a statement that Cheil’s initial investment in iris will be “the start of a new partnership that will enable the two companies to extend and deepen their global capabilities in creativity, strategy, retail, digital, data, analytics, B2B and CRM, while offering clients the most progressive work available in the world today.” Since its launch in 1999, when it was predominantly a promotional marketing agency, iris has grown rapidly but has found it difficult to properly establish itself on the international scene. As part of the Cheil family, iris will be able to accelerate growth around the world through strategic backing from Cheil. Ian Millner, joint chief executive of iris and a co-founder of the agency, says: “We are about to enter the most exciting chapter for iris. This partnership won’t change who we are or what we do as a creative innovation network – but it will extend our global reach and capabilities, and enable our clients and people to benefit from the huge opportunity presented by a true ‘East Meets West’ and ‘West Meets East’ network.” Millner adds: “Over the last 16 years we have retained an entrepreneurial spirit that is engrained in our DNA. In looking for the next step forwards we have found a partner that matches our ambition. Together we will become a real force to be reckoned with, the type of agency group that will define the future of the agency model.” Daiki Lim, president and CEO of Cheil Worldwide, observes: “Together with iris, we will provide a different level of service that is able to achieve amazing new creativity and offer best-in-class capabilities. This relationship is a key catalyst in our ambition to be the best possible partner to our clients to deliver 'Ideas That Move'.” Cheil is one of the world’s leading marketing solutions agency groups, with a 5,000-strong workforce operating from 48 offices and eight affiliates in 41 countries globally. It was originally founded in 1973 as Samsung's in-house agency. iris, over the past 16 years, has grown into a 1,000-strong global organisation, with 17 offices around the world. Cheil was advised by Results International and Linklaters; iris was advised by Osborne Clarke and BDO. The picture shows (left to right): Stewart Shanley, joint CEO iris, Daiki Lim, president and CEO of of Cheil Worldwide and Ian Millner joint CEO of iris.
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