Global ad holding company buys Digital Kitchen

Digital Kitchen has gone global with its acquisition by Kyu, the new strategic operating unit of Japanese Hakuhodo DY Holdings, the seventh largest advertising holding company in the world.

In a deal that had been initiated in January, Digital Kitchen becomes part of Kyu (pronounced “que,” which means sphere in Japanese) founded in May, 2014, that so far also includes brand strategist SY/Partners of New York and San Francisco, and marketing agency Red Peaks Group of New York, LA, London and Taipei.

Digital Kitchen’s current management team of Seattle-based founder/chairman Paul Matthaeus, CEO Bill Fritcsh and Chicago partner/president Don McNeill will remain in place. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Headquartered in New York and Leading the new collective is Michael Birkin, Red Peak’s founder/chairman who will become Kyu’s CEO in July. He is a former Omnicom Group vice chairman who served in its Pacific region.

He says Kyu’s portfolio “will be a very entrepreneurial and somewhat distinctive group” and says the new group is well funded for future acquisitions.

New York-based Michael Birkin heads KyuFurthermore, comments Digital Kitchen’d Matthaeus, “Michael’s plan to create a collective of carefully selected companies with global reach, allows us to grow faster while preserving Digital Kitchen’s unique culture.”

Digital Kitchen’s three offices in Chicago, Seattle and LA have a total of 125 employees, 35 of them in Chicago.  Matthaeus started the multi-honored advertising and entertainment design and content creative company in 1995 and O’Neill opened the Chicago office shortly thereafter.

Some of Digital Kitchen Chicago’s recent projects include work a TV spot for Big O Tires, the main title for FX network’s “Man Seeking Woman” series, TV work for Sailor Jerry Rum and motion work for Microsoft. Its 2014 revenue was $19.2 million.

Advertising Age in 2014 named multi-award winning Digital Kitchen one of the five hot digital agencies. 

Digital Kitchen Chicago is located at 314 W. Superior; phone 312/944-3999.

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