Publicis has bought the group from its four founding shareholders – Nik Roope, Nick Farnhill, Tom Hostler and Peter Beech – and ad agency Mother, which invested in Poke when it was founded in 2001.
According to the most recent Design Week Top 100, Poke had a turnover of just under £8 million last year. The consultancy works for clients including Orange, EE and Diesel.
The move will see Poke join Publicis Group UK, sitting alongside Publicis London, Publicis Chemistry and Publicis Blueprint. Publicis Groupe says the four consultancies will be able to work both independently and together.
Publicis Groupe is currently merging with fellow international network Omnicom, in a move that would create the biggest network in the world, valued at £23 billion.
Poke chief executive Nick Farnhill says the consultancy has worked closely with Publicis on projects for EE and Orange over recent years, and describes the sale as ‘a natural and positive evolution of these relationships.’
Farnhill adds, ‘Particularly appealing is the opportunity to develop digital communication solutions beyond advertising with our new UK partners, the capacity to operate more effectively internationally and the potential of exciting career opportunities for our team.’
Poke executive creative director Nik Roope says, ‘It was the right deal, at the right time, for the right reasons and it’s been done in the right way.
‘Digital isn’t one thing. It’s everything! So, you can’t get far in digital media without productive partnerships and collaborations. We’re incredibly excited about all of the new opportunities this affords us, and we’re more inspired than ever as we set course for this new adventure.’
As part of the move, Poke’s New York office is relaunching as independent consultancy Makeable, following a management buyout.