US performance marketing agency Merkle continues to establish its European foothold with the acquisition of Comet Global Consulting, a global specialist in CRM and real-time decision management solutions.

The acquisition of the UK-based company represents the third and largest European buy-out by Merkle in less than a year, bringing its headcount on the continent to over 500.

Although the terms of the deal were not disclosed, Merkle has had an alleged $1 billion set aside for mergers and acquisitions throughout the next five years.

Less than a month ago, PerformanceIN reported on the agency’s purchase of independent marketing solutions agency dbg, which nearly doubled Merkle’s UK-based staff count to 300.

Prior to that, and spearheading its entry into Europe, the group acquired performance marketing and programmatic agency Periscopix in Q2 2015.

Building a global brand

The addition of Comet – which works with large enterprise marketing automation – both increases the performance marketing company’s scale and strengthens its offering as an agency.

Comet’s particular expertise lies in the telecommunications, financial services, retail, travel and media industries, which provides a strategic match for Merkle’s “vertical go-to-market approach”.

Speaking on the acquisition Merkle’s chairman and CEO, David Williams, said he was “proud” to welcome Comet to the Merkle group as it continues to build its brand globally.

“As a real-time decision management leader in both the US and Europe, Comet’s strategic offering, geographical presence, and impressive multi-national client roster are the perfect fit to bolster our offering and solidify our position as a global leader in performance marketing,” said Williams.

While Merkle continues its European offensive, Comet’s US managing director, Paul Skinner, also commented that the partnership heralds “great news” for its US-based clients, as it gains support and access to the performance marketing agency’s “incredible bench strength” in its home market.