Omnicom to Acquire Digital Commerce Business Flywheel

Omnicom Group plans to buy Ascential's Flywheel Digital for $835 million in the first quarter of 2024.
Jacqueline Barba
Digital Editor
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Global marketing and communications company Omnicom Group has agreed to acquire Flywheel Digital, the digital commerce and retail media managed service provider of Ascential, for roughly $835 million, per an Oct. 30 media release.

Flywheel's services enable brands to sell goods more efficiently across hundreds of digital marketplaces, such as Amazon, Walmart and Alibaba. The company provides services in retail commerce operations, media execution and market intelligence to more than 4,500 brand partners. These services are reinforced by the company’s advanced technology platform, Flywheel Commerce Cloud, which delivers near real-time insights, per the release.

Through the merger, Flywheel Commerce Cloud's product and transaction data will be connected to Omnicom's audience and behavioral data to provide enhanced insights and analytics, per the release. Flywheel will also operate as a “practice area” within Omnicom and will be led by Duncan Painter, who currently serves as CEO of Ascential.

"E-commerce sales worldwide are set to increase by 50%, reaching about $7 trillion dollars by 2025,” John Wren, chairman and CEO of Omnicom, said in the release. “The acquisition of Flywheel significantly broadens our reach and influence in the rapidly expanding digital commerce and retail media sectors, two of the fastest-growing parts of the industry. Together, we will seamlessly integrate our offerings across retail and brand media, digital and in-store commerce and CRM.”

Since it was founded in 2024, Flywheel and its workforce of more than 2,000 employees have assembled digital commerce solutions and integrated them into a proprietary platform with a single user interface, per the release. Today, Flywheel says its Commerce Cloud platform manages “tens of billions in product sales and billions of advertising spend” annually across digital marketplaces.

"By connecting Flywheel Commerce Cloud's product and transaction data with Omni's audience and behavioral data, we are poised to offer an end-to-end set of services that outpaces the competition,” Ascential CEO Duncan Painter added. “We aim to empower our clients to automate, optimize and measure their digital commerce and media spend within an increasingly complex marketplace."

The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2024 and is subject to Ascential shareholder approval, regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

Moelis & Company LLC acted as financial advisor and Latham & Watkins LLP acted as legal advisor to Omnicom.

This acquisition isn’t Omnicom’s first of the year. The company, which works with over 5,000 clients in more than 70 countries, also announced in July it would acquire German creative agency Grabarz & Partner to bolster its position in Germany and gain more advertising market share.

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