The deal will see the professional services giant acquire Fluid’s capabilities in digital, design and strategy, a team of around 30 staff and a client list, according to the agency’s website, that includes Hong Kong Jockey Club, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, South China Morning Post, PCCW and Estée Lauder.
PwC is one of the “big four” consulting firms that has been making a play in marketing services, going head to head with traditional agency groups, not only in strategy but also in execution. The Fluid deal comes just over two years after PwC acquired the management consultancy Booz & Co.
PwC was coy about news. In a statement Colin Light, experience centre and digital services leader, PwC China and Hong Kong, told Mumbrella:
"PwC and Fluid have enjoyed a strong working relationship as partners, offering best-in-class services to some of the world’s leading brands. PwC works closely with Fluid to deliver brand-driven digital solutions to clients. We continue to explore various ways of working together in the future but do not comment on specific investments that PwC may, or may not, make"
Fluid started out as a graphic design company, co-founded by entrepreneur Simon Squibb and creative partner Helen Griffith in 2000, and has evolved over the past 15 years into a full-service marketing services firm that has carved out a niche as a local agency serving international clients.
Squibb remains chairman of the agency, but stepped back from the day-to-day running of the business to launch angel investment firm Nest in 2010. He did not confirm or deny the news.
Fluid repositioned as an “insight-driven creative agency” in 2013 in a move that CEO Guy Parsonage explained in an interview with Mumbrella in that year was to move the company “higher up the food chain”.
Fluid is one of Asia’s better agencies at marketing itself, and has kept a high profile on Hong Kong’s creative scene. Parsonage is co-chair of the Marketing Society of Asia, and Fluid has been well recognised at awards shows in recent years, winning Marketing Magazine’s “Local hero” accolade last year.
Additional reporting by The Holmes Report.