Cheil Worldwide buys 'significant' stake in Iris

South Korean marketer Cheil Worldwide has announced it has signed a deal to acquire an unspecified initial investment in creative agency Iris, with the potential to purchase the company outright over the next five years.

Cheil Worldwide inks deal with Iris
Cheil Worldwide inks deal with Iris

Iris told Event that all its sectors, including its experiential arm, will continue to operate as usual. However it stated that the joint venture, which will see the two companies remain as separate entities, will allow further international expansion.

The companies aim is to create a ‘new-age alternative’ to the traditional holding company model, as well as to develop a new style of ‘east meets west’ agency network. The buy-out will end Iris’ partnership with US media company Meredith, which held 15-25% stake in the agency since 2011.

The news comes after Iris announced the last four years have been its strongest to date, with new client wins in 2014 including Guinness, Samsung and Diageo.

Daiki Lim, preseident and chief executive of Cheil Worldwide, said: "Our goal was to find the right partner who could match our determination and drive. We've watched with awe how Iris has built its global business and we are delighted to have this opportunity to work with their brand.

"Their membership in the Cheil Worldwide network will bring great value and agility to us and to our clients."

Ian Millner, joint chief executive at Iris, added: "We are about to enter the most exciting chapter for Iris. Over the last 16 years we have retained an entrepreneurial spirit that is engrained in our DNA.

"In looking for the next step forwards we have found a partner that matches our ambition. Together we will become a real force to be reckoned with, the type of agency group that will define the future of the agency model."

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