NEW MEDIA: AKQA unveils plans for 40% Nasdaq flotation

AKQA, the UK’s largest independent new media agency, has announced its intention to float 40% of its shares on the Nasdaq stock exchange in 2002.

AKQA, the UK’s largest independent new media agency, has announced

its intention to float 40% of its shares on the Nasdaq stock exchange in

2002.



Established in 1994, AKQA was valued in November last year at pounds 26m

by management consultant PricewaterhouseCoopers. The company’s main

clients include BMW, Microsoft, Orange, Sainsbury’s, Carlsberg-Tetley

and Cable & Wireless.



The company’s founder Ajaz Ahmed told Marketing he is restructuring the

business to prepare for the flotation.



The agency is to be split into two groups focusing on its two key areas

of business. The AKQA consulting group will handle long-term projects in

areas such as e-commerce and business issues relating to new media,

while The AKQA communications group will focus on digital marketing

communications, branding and interface design.



In a series of staff changes Ahmed, formerly managing director of AKQA

New Media, takes on the dual role of chief executive officer and

chairman of AKQA.



AKQA’s co-founder, Matthew Treagus, previously director of account

management and planning, becomes chief operating officer.



Other founder staff members, James Hilton and Dan Norris Jones, creative

director and technical director respectively, will take up similar

positions across both groups. Meanwhile, Daniel Bonner, creative manager

for the automotive group, becomes creative director for the

communications group.



The company is recruiting for the newly-created position of head of web

development.



Ahmed stressed that although the two groups would have separate business

plans, they would remain part of the same company.



AKQA, which claims to be the UK’s largest independent new media firm by

revenue, had turnover last year of around pounds 14m.



The consulting group is initially expected to account for around

two-thirds of the total revenue - a figure likely to grow over the next

year.



’The new focus reflects the paths our clients are taking. We need a

dedicated team for consulting projects. The communications group will

have a classic agency set-up with people working across accounts,’ said

Ahmed.



Ahmed confirmed his intention to keep the agency independent.



He added: ’We have funded our growth organically, with absolutely no

venture capital backing. We have a strong balance sheet, and being

independent means we can make decisions quickly.’



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