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IBM buys two digital ad agencies in a week

Chasing the marketing dollar

One for the record: IBM is buying an online creative ad agency – the second in a week – for an undisclosed sum.

This one is a 300-strong company Aperto, which is headquartered in Berlin and counts Airbus, Volkswagen and Siemens among its customers. The company will become part of IBM’s IX – as in "interactive experience" – unit.

Last week IBM announced its intention to buy Resource/Ammirati, a 350-person digital marketing firm based in the US. Terms were undisclosed.

“IBM" and "digital creatives" are not typically found in the same sentence but these acquisitions show a company gunning for the digital transformation budgets controlled by marketing departments. Microsoft tried something along these lines with the $6bn acquisition of aQuantive in 2007 – that was a failed but affordable punt.

For IBM, the stakes are higher: it needs to demonstrate to dubious shareholders that it is successfully navigating its own transition from legacy hardware businesses into shiny new services. ®

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