Merkle Acquires Digital Player New Control

Deal expands Merkle's footprint to Chicago

Headshot of Kristina Monllos

Customer relationship marketing specialist Merkle has acquired New Control, a digital and direct marketing shop whose clients include Chase, PNC Bank, Visa, Gap and Sony.

The terms of the deal–which was driven in part by the agencies' shared interest in financial services brands–were not disclosed. During the first year, the firm will operate as New Control, A Merkle Company. After that, the New Control name will dissolve.

Negotiations between the Columbia, Md.-based Merkle and Chicago-based New Control took roughly four months. Mergers and acquisitions firm AdMedia Partners advised New Control, which had been looking to expand its capabilities.

“We believe that clients are increasingly looking for a more integrated solution in the marketing value chain," said David Braun, president of New Control. "We knew we had strengths in marketing consulting and creative development, but understood that there were areas of the marketing chain where we needed to bolster our capabilities. Looking at the market, we saw that Merkle had already developed best in class offerings in these identified gaps, including technology, analytics, digital media, mobile and social."

New Control's almost 90 employees become part of Merkle's digital agency group, which will now have a presence in Chicago and another San Francisco office, where New Control has a second office. That group will now number 400, while Merkle's total headcount will reach 2,100.

Braun added that "after getting to know Merkle better we saw an instant cultural fit and recognized that we were servicing similar key industries, such as insurance and financial services. Altogether, this resulted in finding the best partner for an acquisition."

Said Craig Dempster, an evp and digital agency group leader at Merkle: "We saw that there was a great group of talented people over at New Control. There was a strong culture and entrepreneurial spirit. We liked that, and that they had a strong industry focus within financial services, it seemed like a good fit." 

@KristinaMonllos Kristina Monllos is a senior editor for Adweek.