Edinburgh big data outfit Aquila Insight bought by US group

Aquila Insight, the Edinburgh-based data analytics specialist, has been acquired by US marketing agency Merkle.
Aquila Insight co-founders John Brodie, left, and Warwick Beresford-Jones will remain at the helm. Picture: ContributedAquila Insight co-founders John Brodie, left, and Warwick Beresford-Jones will remain at the helm. Picture: Contributed
Aquila Insight co-founders John Brodie, left, and Warwick Beresford-Jones will remain at the helm. Picture: Contributed

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, will see Aquila co-founders John Brodie and Warwick Beresford-Jones remain at the helm of its leadership team, reporting to Merkle Europe president Tim Berry.

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Founded in 2012, Aquila has a team of more than 60 statisticians and data scientists, working with major brands such as Royal Bank of Scotland, Sony Mobile and Tesco Bank to develop analytical and data-driven strategies.

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Merkle said the takeover, which follows its recent purchase of Spain’s Divisadero, will bring its European headcount to more than 850 and boost its “capabilities and scale” in the UK and European markets.

David Williams, president and chief executive of Merkle, which is based in Columbia, Maryland, said: “The Aquila Insight team has a great approach to building, growing, and delivering impactful results for their clients through the use of sophisticated analytical methods.

“As we continue to expand our footprint in Europe, predictive analytics needs to be at the heart of our growth strategy, and Aquila will boost our capabilities in this area. The acquisition of Aquila is an important and exciting opportunity to accelerate our data leadership in the UK.”

Berry said that Aquila’s approach to using data was “absolutely world class”, adding that the acquisition would have “an immediate and material impact” on the group’s growth and client retention.

“From the first meeting with David and Tim, it was clear that Merkle and Aquila have very similar DNA and shared viewpoints on how data should be used,” said Beresford-Jones.

“It feels like the perfect home for Aquila and our team to develop and grow.”

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Along with its Edinburgh headquarters, Aquila has further offices in Derby and London.

Brodie added: “We have huge aspirations to grow Aquila in the wider market and being part of Merkle will allow us to reach our potential. We are passionate about analytics driving actions, and being part of Merkle will put Aquila at the heart of the action.”

Merkle, which describes itself as a “data-driven, technology-enabled, global performance marketing agency”, last year joined the Dentsu Aegis Network of media and digital communications specialists.

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