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