NEWS11 April 2024

Unlimited sold to Accenture

Europe M&A News UK

IRELAND, UK & US – Accenture has acquired London-headquartered marketing group Unlimited, the holding company of research agency Walnut, bringing Unlimited into its creative business Accenture Song.

chris mellish

The deal will bolster Accenture Song’s behavioural science, customer strategy and CRM activation.

Unlimited is comprised of Walnut (including analytical practice Realise), integrated marketing agency TMW, healthcare comms practice Health Unlimited and PR firm Nelston Bostock.

The deal will also bring the group’s behavioural science hub, Human Understanding Lab, and AI-based insight platform Luca into Accenture Song, boosting its data and analytics offer.

Unlimited is headquartered in London, with additional offices in Bristol, Winchester and Reading. Its almost 600 employees will join Accenture Song’s UK team, led by Bill Scott, marketing practice lead, UK, Ireland and Africa, Accenture Song.

Tim Hassett, chief executive at Unlimited, is leaving the business, with Chris Mellish, chief executive at TMW (pictured), appointed group chief executive.

The financial terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

Accenture Song was formerly Accenture Interactive before rebranding in 2022.

Annette King, global lead, marketing practice, Accenture Song, said: “There are few agencies that have proven to be as impressive as Unlimited over the last few years. The world of CRM is more crucial to brands than ever before and there is no greater partner for it than generative AI-powered creativity. We’re excited to welcome the team into the Accenture Song fold and most importantly, we can’t wait for the opportunities that now exist for our clients and talent.”

Walnut was founded by Cristina de Balanzo as a neuroscience specialist in 2013 and in 2014 it was acquired by Marketing Sciences (part of what was then holding group Creston, and is now Unlimited).

In 2017, Unlimited merged its insight agencies – ICM Direct, ICM and Marketing Sciences – under the Walnut Unlimited brand name.

Sohel Aziz, UK, Ireland and Africa lead, Accenture Song said: “We have a shared vision for the future of CRM combined with the power of generative AI to enable the delivery of ever more relevant and impactful customer experience. Our values are wholly aligned, and we look forward to creating value and growth for our clients together.”

Chris Mellish, chief executive, Unlimited Group (pictured), said: “We have found a home where both our people and our clients can continue to thrive in an organisation that has its eye towards shaping the future of our industry. We can’t wait to see the positive impact we’ll be able to make on our clients together.”

The deal is the latest in a string of data and insight-focused acquisitions from Accenture Song, including Bulgarian customer experience analytics company GemSeek, German digital experience and analytics business Mindcurv and Australian customer insight and advisory business Fiftyfive5.