Omnicom Buys Communispace to Connect with Consumers

2/7/11Follow @xconomy

[Updated 2/08/11 9:25 am. See below.] Omnicom Group (NYSE: OMC) announced today that its Diversified Agency Services business has bought Communispace, a Watertown, MA-based company that powers online communities that help marketers test ideas and gain consumer feedback.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed in the press release, but Communispace CEO Diane Hessan said Omnicom’s broad global reach will better help its client brands connect with consumers. She will remain the company’s president and CEO.

“There is no doubt today that deep, real-time consumer insight is critical, and the company’s breakthrough approach, using leading-edge technologies and service capabilities, have made Communispace the dominant player in its space and an extremely valuable and pro-active resource to its clients,” said Thomas Harrison, CEO of Omnicom’s Diversified Agency Services.

Communispace started in 1999 and says it has created more than 400 online communities for more than 100 blue-chip companies as clients. Hessan has been heavily involved in the Boston-area tech startup scene, and was part of an initiative launched last year called 12×12, designed to match entrepreneurs with advisors for hands-on-help in starting 12 new companies.

[Paragraph updated with comments from Communispace CEO Diane Hessan.] All 323 members of Communispace’s staff will stay on, and the company will continue to fill existing job openings, says Hessan. It is also planning a move into the city of Boston for this year. “We think this is going to move us to the next level,” she says of the acquisition. “It’s a great prestigious organization with vast resources, yet they’re really going to allow us to leverage those resources and remain independent.”

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