Dentsu Aegis Network's Merkle has bought Swiss-based full-service digital agency Namics to increase its expertise in customer experience and digital design.
Namics has a 550-strong workforce in Switzerland, Germany and Serbia, making it a significant mid-sized player in the European agency sector.
It was founded in 1995 and counts Credit Suisse, UBS, Migros and Kuka as clients.
Namics is involved in areas such as business transformation strategy, digital consulting and implementation of technology services such as Adobe Experience Cloud, Salesforce and SAP.
Digital customer experience is a growing battleground for agencies such as Merkle, Publicis Groupe’s Sapient and WPP’s Wunderman, which are coming up against Accenture Interactive and Deloitte Digital from the management consulting world.
Michael Komasinski, EMEA president of Merkle, said the acquisition would boost Merkle’s "people-based marketing" proposition, adding scale in "new markets" and "an established service offering that fits perfectly with our existing marketing technology and customer experience practice".
Bernd Schopp, chief executive of Namics, said Namics and Merkle have "a shared vision of helping clients become winners in digital transformation".
He added: "Our customer advocacy approach to delivering digital marketing, communication and commerce solutions will be further strengthened by Merkle’s data, analytics and CRM capabilities."
GP Bullhound, the London-based M&A advisory firm, advised Namics.
Simon Nicholls, partner at GP Bullhound, said: "The convergence in digital services across marketing, consulting and technology implementation is here to stay and leading players in digital business transformation, like Namics, have a key role to play."
Dentsu Aegis Network bought Merkle, which includes its data-rich, "people-based" marketing platform M1, in 2016.
Japanese parent company Dentsu remains one of the most acquisitive agency groups along with WPP.
The past three months have seen the highest number of mergers and acquisitions involving marcoms agencies since the fourth quarter of 2016, according to analysis from Results International.
The most popular target specialism was full-service digital, with 31 such agencies being acquired.