Leeds agencies merge for creative powerhouse

Steve Sowden (left) and Dave Sewards

Leeds creative agencies HOME and IMA are merging to create a new “super agency” called IMA HOME with a turnover of £70 million.

IMA HOME already employs 400 and plans to recruit 200 more people over the next three years.

The client list of the merged firm will include Jet2, Royal Canin, Dr Oetker, adidas, Reebok, AG Barr and More Than.

The combined firm has offices around the world, including teams in Leeds, London, Manchester, Gibraltar, New York, Amsterdam, Sydney and Cape Town.

Sales and marketing outsourcing specialist Advantage Smollan acquired IMA in 2017 and is adding HOME — including its group companies Fusion Learning and Chilli — to its portfolio.

It will merge the agencies together “to create a new force in the marketing agency sector.”

HOME said: “Together, we’ll be one of the largest agencies in the UK …

“We’re not stopping there though, we have ambitious growth plans and will offer new and existing clients an extensive scale of integrated services, global reach and a breadth and depth of specialist knowledge.”

IMA chief operating officer Steve Sowden said: “We’ve admired HOME for a long time. It’s an awesome agency with great people and a fantastic culture.

“This merger is all about growth and opportunity for our people and our clients.

“Like HOME, IMA is already in a very healthy and profitable position and despite COVID, it’s fair to say that we’re both flying.

“The last 18 months have been tough and we are more committed than ever to creating amazing futures and opportunities for all colleagues at IMA and HOME.”

HOME chairman Dave Sewards said: “This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for everybody involved.

“When Steve and I first started talking it was immediately clear we shared incredibly similar values.

“This really feels like a very natural collaboration.

“We’re committed to maintaining HOME’s culture and start-up mentality, something that was very important to us when we opened the doors 20 years ago and remains visible in both our culture and service to clients today.

“Maintaining that agility at such a large scale means we’ll continue to offer clients a bespoke service, and as a combined entity will have even stronger expertise and breadth.”

IMA HOME will be headquartered in Leeds but will now have 11 offices across six countries.

HOME’s Leeds HQ, Beechwood Estate, will close, and “Homies” will join IMA at its Malthouse office.

HOME’s Leeds Dockside office will remain open, and its London team will join IMA at its Farringdon office.

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.