Havas has snapped up London-based independent management consultancy Gate One, bucking the trend for management consultancies acquiring agencies.
The advertising giant said the acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, would strengthen its international capability at a time when clients are increasingly seeking an integrated offering.
After a period in which many of the biggest deals in the creative sector have been consultancy groups snapping up agencies – with Accenture Interactive's purchase of Droga5 earlier this year perhaps the most eye-catching – the move by Havas is an example of an ad holding company taking steps to cover similar ground.
Gate One works with executives across life sciences, retail, travel and government departments, and its team of 70 staff will move to Havas' office in King's Cross early next year. Gate One will retain its name and leadership team.
"Investing in the consultancy space is a bold move that has the potential to unlock huge growth for our group in the UK and beyond," Yannick Bolloré, chief executive and chairman of Havas, said.
Chris Hirst, UK group chief executive and global chief executive of Havas Creative, added: "As clients are increasingly looking for integrated services, the addition of Gate One… makes our UK offering truly unique."
Gate One chief executive Tim Phillips said: "Our clients and the broader market are increasingly telling us that they need integrated digital, marketing and business transformation services, and it was obvious when we met the team at Havas that we had found our future home."
Recent data shows deal-making at the top six holding companies has declined every year since 2014. Deal data released by Results International in October suggested they were on course to make fewer than half the acquisitions they made last year.