NEWS2 July 2019

InSites Consulting buys Join the Dots

Europe M&A News North America UK

UK & US – Insight and consumer collaboration agency InSites Consulting has acquired consumer insight agency Join the Dots for an undisclosed sum.

Quentin Ashby and Kristof De Wulf, Join the Dots  InSites Consulting_crop

Founded in 1998, Join the Dots has offices in Manchester, New York and Singapore and focuses on online insight communities and cultural trends forecasting.

InSites is looking to bolster its work in online communities through the acquisition, which will take the combined company to around €50m in revenues and over 450 staff globally. The deal extends InSites’ geographical presence to 10 client service offices in five continents.

Following the deal, Join the Dots’ 170 staff will join the InSites Consulting group, with the company operating under the name Join the Dots | InSites Consulting in the UK, US and Singapore, where Join the Dots’ offices are based. InSites Consulting retains its brand name in other markets.

Join the Dots’ leadership team will become shareholders in the merged company. Chief executive Quentin Ashby (pictured, left) joins the board of directors and executive committee, while chief client officer Graeme Lawrence becomes part of the InSites global account management group.

Additionally, divisional director Andy Cumming has been appointed managing director of the Manchester office, innovation director Andy Buckley will head up the global client solutions portfolio and chief financial officer Pauline Reeves becomes global head of finance and accounting at InSites.

The purchase is InSites’ third acquisition since private equity firm Mentha Capital took a majority stake in the company in September 2018. InSites bought South African research agency Columinate in October and Paris-based crowdsourcing company eÿeka in April 2019. It also acquired Sydney agency Direction First in 2017.

Kristof De Wulf, co-founder and chief executive of InSites Consulting (pictured, right), said: “As global markets are shifting towards the reality of having more open and ongoing connections with consumers, we’re eager to leverage the wealth of expertise Join the Dots brings to the table. By joining forces, we are taking a leap forward in becoming the market leader in online insight communities and in shaping the future of ongoing consumer dialogues.”

Ashby said the deal would give Join the Dots “a more global dimension” and access to InSites’ global network of community moderators. He added: “This larger-scale workforce will allow us to accelerate the development of our unique technology suite, and certainly aid us in enhancing our insight ecosystem. We are looking forward to an exciting journey, combining our complementary strengths to shape the future of the industry together.”