Quad/Graphics to buy Periscope creative agency for $132.5 million

Deal expected to close in early 2019

Quad/Graphics' Sussex headquarters.

Last updated on June 26th, 2019 at 12:18 pm

Sussex-based Quad/Graphics plans to acquire Minnesota-based creative agency Periscope for $132.5 million, the companies announced Tuesday.

The boards of both companies have already signed off on the transaction and the deal is expected to close in early 2019.

Founded in 1994, Periscope employs more than 500 people across offices in Minneapolis, Chicago, Hong Kong and Delhi. Bill Simpson, Periscope chairman and owner, built the company off the strength of his family’s typesetting and production company, which was started in 1960.

Periscope is among the nation’s top five independent creative agencies based on annual revenue, according to a press release from Quad. Brands the company works with include Arctic Cat, Autotrader, BASF, Bridgestone, Cox Communications, Intuit, Kelley Blue Book, Krispy Kreme, Petco, Red Robin, Target, Toro, Trolli, UnitedHealth Group and Walgreens.

Acquiring Periscope is another step in Quad’s efforts to augment its traditional strength in printing with additional marketing services. The company also acquired Texas-based marketing and advertising firm Ivie & Asssociates Inc. and took a majority stake in Chicago-based digital marketing agency Rise Interactive earlier this year. Quad’s European subsidiary also acquired the Polish strategic and creative agency Peppermint Warszawa in August.

Joel Quadracci, Quad/Graphics chairman, president and chief executive officer, said the company has taken a disciplined approach to the transformation, which it refers to as Quad 3.0.

“We are redefining the future of integrated marketing at a time of substantial disruption when clients are looking for less complexity, greater transparency and accountability from their business partners,” Quadracci said. “With Periscope, we will create a truly integrated, end-to-end marketing platform that we believe will create more value than the traditional siloed agency approach that exists today.”

He said Periscope will help Quad in the areas of media buying, analytics, creative and account management.

“Our companies share a common vision for the future of integrated marketing and operate with very similar values,” Simpson said. “Quad’s 3.0 strategy mirrors Periscope’s vision for an end-to-end solution, but on a much larger scale.”

Elizabeth Ross, Periscope president and CEO, will join Quad along with her team when the deal closes. Eric Ashworth, Quad executive vice president of product solutions and market strategy, called Ross “a creative and business powerhouse.”

“Quad allows us to accelerate the creation of the agency of the future by removing silos to help our clients seamlessly move from idea to execution,” Ross said. “Brand owners have been very receptive to this approach because it provides fully integrated marketing solutions at the scale and speed they require.”

The deal is the second major transaction Quad has announced this fall. In late October, the company struck a deal to acquire LSC Communications for $1.4 billion. Formerly part of printing industry giant R.R. Donnelley, LSC adds to Quad’s printing capabilities and the deal continues ongoing industry consolidation.

Claire Ho, a Quad/Graphics spokeswoman, said the company would be able to manage multiple ongoing integration efforts at the same time.

“We are very experienced at integrations,” she said in an email “Having successfully performed a number of them over the past several years, we have an established and streamlined approach. That approach includes separate operations and integration teams so we can remain focused on serving our customers well.”

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Arthur Thomas
Arthur covers manufacturing for BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.