AKQA, a New Global Marketing Company is Launched - Creates Strategic Alliance with Accenture

New company attracts $71 million investment from Francisco Partners and Accenture

SAN FRANCISCO, NEW YORK and LONDON, March 20, 2001 – Four independent companies have announced the global launch of AKQA, Inc., based on a shared vision of how emerging technology and media fragmentation is changing consumer behaviors and transforming the marketing industry. The companies are Citron Haligman Bedecarré, the United States’ fastest growing advertising agency; AKQA, Europe’s largest independent Internet development and consulting company; Magnet Interactive, one of the United States’ first and largest independent Web-builders and e-commerce applications providers; and fast-growing Asian new media agency, The AdInc. Accenture shares this vision and will actively participate in the venture, both through its investment as well as collaborative efforts to deliver integrated business and marketing communications solutions to its global client base.

The new firm, which is called AKQA, will serve the needs of a growing roster of global clients looking to build brand equity and deepen relationships with their customers. Through dedicated, client-focused teams, AKQA will provide strategic, effective and creative marketing solutions to help clients communicate with their customers across the most appropriate media and technology platforms.

"Consumer acceptance of emerging technologies such as the Web, email, interactive TV and mobile devices has radically expanded the number of channels through which companies will interact with their customers. Clients are demanding effective, compelling and consistent communications across a myriad and ever-increasing number of customer contact channels," explained Rick Hadala, AKQA’s Chief Executive Officer. "With the combined expertise of our people and our alliance with Accenture, we believe AKQA is poised to meet this demand."

AKQA and Accenture have formed a global strategic alliance to address a gap in the marketplace for large-scale and complex marketing solutions. Under the alliance, AKQA and Accenture will work together to offer seamless services, bridging the gap between marketing and the new technologies that can help clients manage their brands more effectively across all points of customer contact. Accenture brings its reputation for innovation, knowledge of emerging technologies, vertical industry acumen, unmatched business strategy, and customer relationship management capabilities. Conversely, AKQA’s marketing expertise, customer understanding, creativity and technical knowledge will help Accenture offer integrated marketing communications services to its extensive base of clients in 46 countries.

"Increasingly, our clients need business solutions that integrate a variety of customer relationship marketing, marketing communications and technology tools," said Tim Breene, managing partner, Global Service Lines for Accenture. "To be successful, these solutions must cross a number of customer contact channels ranging from traditional advertising and digital customer communications platforms to customer service operations. Working with AKQA, we will be able to provide our clients with access to a comprehensive set of integrated marketing solutions that allow them to build brand equity and share of mind across every point of contact with their audiences."

Fueling its launch, AKQA has secured $71 million in a round led by Francisco Partners LP, a private equity firm (and partner of leading venture capital firm Sequoia Capital), and, Accenture, a leading global management and technology consultancy. This financing will help AKQA expand globally and solidify a leadership position in the professional services industry. In addition, Accenture will provide consulting and integration expertise to AKQA.

Leading the new firm will be a seasoned management team, led by Rick Hadala, the former Chairman and CEO of Ammirati Puris Lintas, N.A. (now Lowe Lintas), a top 10 advertising agency. Mr. Hadala also was a senior executive at the former CBS Corporation (now part of Viacom) and a partner at McKinsey & Company, the international management consulting firm, where he spent 10 years.

The management team includes principals from the four founding organizations:

AKQA’s Board of Directors consists of:

About AKQA
AKQA is a marketing and technology services company that combines strategy, creativity and technology to help clients reach and build relationships with their customers. Through client-focused teams, AKQA provides innovative marketing strategy, communications and integrated technology services across all points of contact. The company has formed a global strategic alliance with Accenture. AKQA is Accenture’s preferred partner for marketing solutions and Accenture is AKQA’s preferred partner for systems integration solutions. AKQA has offices in New York, London, San Francisco, Washington DC, and Singapore. For more information, please visit http://www.akqa.com.

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Allen Valahu

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