Merkle buys Edinburgh data marketing firm Aquila

John Brodie and Warwick Beresford-Jones

US marketing agency Merkle said it acquired Edinburgh-based data analytics firm Aquila Insight.

Aquila Insight was founded in 2012 and also has offices in London and Derby.

Aquila specializes in predictive analytics, media mix optimization, digital analytics and customer relationship management (CRM) strategy.

The company’s team of more than 60 statisticians and data scientists engages with top brands — including Sony Mobile, Tesco Bank and RBS — to develop analytical and data-driven strategies to drive return on investment.

Merkle is headquartered in Columbia, Maryland and has 16 additional offices in the US and 8 offices in Europe and Asia.

In 2016, Merkle joined the Dentsu Aegis Network.

“The Aquila Insight team has a great approach to building, growing, and delivering impactful results for their clients through the use of sophisticated analytical methods,” said Merkle CEO David Williams.

“As we continue to expand our footprint in Europe, predictive analytics needs to be at the heart of our growth strategy, and Aquila will boost our capabilities in this area.

“The acquisition of Aquila is an important and exciting opportunity to accelerate our data leadership in the UK.”

The company will now be branded Merkle|Aquila and will be a part of Merkle’s European operation, led by Tim Berry, president of Merkle Europe.

John Brodie and Warwick Beresford-Jones, Aquila’s joint CEOs and co-founders, will remain at the helm.

Aquila Insight’s entire staff will join Merkle, which brings its European staff to more than 850.

“As a former statistician myself, I am particularly discerning when it comes to analytic talent and methodologies,” said Berry.

“Aquila’s approach to using data to predict events for their clients is absolutely world class.

“And I am equally impressed by their ability to assemble a top-notch team of statisticians.

“There’s no doubt that with our combined staff and capabilities, this acquisition will have an immediate and material impact, not only on Merkle’s growth and client retention, but on the success of our collective European client base.”

Beresford-Jones said: “From the first meeting with David and Tim, it was clear that Merkle and Aquila have very similar DNA and shared viewpoints on how data should be used.

“It feels like the perfect home for Aquila and our team to develop and grow.”

Brodie said: “We have huge aspirations to grow Aquila in the wider market and being part of Merkle will allow us to reach our potential.

“We are passionate about analytics driving actions, and being part of Merkle will put Aquila at the heart of the action.”

The deal marks Merkle’s second European acquisition of 2017 following the acquisition of Spain-based digital analytics consultancy DIVISADERO in April.