CPR Vision parts ways with WPP AUNZ 6 years post-acquisition, find new buyer

CRM and digital agency CPR Vision has parted ways with shareholder WPP AUNZ six years after it was acquired by the global network. This comes as it was recently acquired by Volaris Group, the operating group of software firm Constellation Software. In line with Volaris’ philosophy of acquiring, strengthening and growing mission-critical software companies, CPR Vision will maintain its independence and autonomy, while Volaris provides support, coaching and new best practices.

Founder of CPR Vision, Cameron Richards (pictured) will continue to lead the business as CEO. Meanwhile, WPP AUNZ's spokesperson said: "In line with WPP AUNZ’s corporate vison to focus our attention on fewer stronger brands, we can confirm that we recently divested our interest in CPR Vision."

Richards told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that given that the world has changed, business models and agency work also needs to evolve. This new acquisition, he added, has now allowed CPR Vision the opportunity to rethink, pivot and re-engineer both professionally and personally. 

"The last 18 months, CPR Vision has had a huge growth spurt with 12 new clients, one acquisition, new tech innovations lab and new offices opened in Asia Pacific. Today, we are a different company than what we were before. To embrace this change and movement, and to ensure we leverage the momentum, we need to re-engineer from the core – look within, product, and people including our corporate structure," he said.

According to him, one question the agency asked itself during the pandemic was “Do we have the right set up in order to springboard this momentum and growth?”. "WPP bought into our business six years ago and fast forward to today, our business is different as are our needs to respond to the current macro environment we are all navigating today and their focus is different, and we needed a more dynamic and pro-active partner," he said. 

More specifically, Richards said CPR Vision needs a partner that can help scale, support, guide and drive its growth - people, product and services. It also seeks a partner to provide the tools, framework, best practice, systems to help facilitate its direction forward in scalable, sustainable manner. He added that WPP was always supportive, but with the recent changes in leadership and WPP's culture, focus and approach changed.

Richards explained that CPR Vision had a choice in its direction and where the world is heading, trends and business direction, it didn't want to go down the "obvious road" of joining another big agency group such as an Omnicom or Publicis, and instead align with a software and tech group. Volaris, Richards said, has a market capitalisation of more than US$23 billion, about 23,000 employees and is present in more than 150 countries with over 150,000 customers. It also has expertise in a variety of industries including agri-food, marine, retail, healthcare, food tech and utilities, among others. 

"Volaris was the perfect fit to help us scale up and further professionalise our offering and approach. We were attracted to the Volaris model. The team there all about strengthening businesses within the markets they compete in and enabling them to grow – whether that growth comes through organic measures such as new initiatives and product development, day-to-day business, or through complementary acquisitions," Richards explained.

Following the acquisition, CPR Vision maintains its agility, branding, culture and autonomy while also having a pro-active partner for growth. Richards described the Volaris model to be unique, as the company "does not seek to take over the day-to-day operations or radically break the company apart and sell off areas that it deems irrelevant".

"Volaris holds onto our businesses indefinitely. The company has a 20-year track record and it is proud to say that it never sells. Its mantra is that the best decisions are made locally by leaders who have intimate knowledge of their customer base and market. Volaris brings best practices to help drive improved operations and support decision making," he added.

Founded in 2001 in Singapore, CPR Vision now has offices in Bali, Batam, Malaysia, Sydney and Melbourne. Among its list of clients include KFC, Pigeon, Shiseido, iFly Singapore, Charles & Keith, Lancome, The Ascott, and Esprit. CPR Vision's services fall into three pillars - technology, strategy and creative. They include aspects such as CRM marketing automation platform, case management, loyalty management, analytics and digital, EDM design, mobile, and content strategy, among others.

When asked about the challenges and opportunities it has witnessed in Southeast Asia and Australia so far, Richards explained that under the current circumstances and macro factors, upheavals are inevitable but the pandemic is not without areas that the region can turn to its advantage.

"The key will be cooperation and a willingness to adapt. Food security and health security will rise in importance in all international markets, as there is a need for food sufficiency and safety, medical technology and self-sufficiency of supplies e-education. It will also be increasingly important for companies to reskill and upskill their people to match the new normal in order to survive in the post-COVID-19 world," he said.