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Industry Professional services
Founded 1986
Headquarters Boston
Key people
John Chuang (co-founder and CEO)
Services Employment agencies
$500 million (2006)[1]

Aquent is a staffing company specialized in placing temporary employees in marketing and creative industries. According to Staffing Industry Analysts, it is among the "largest marketing/creative staffing firms in the United States".[2]


Harvard College students John Chuang, Mia Wenjen and Steve Kapner in 1986 founded a typesetting business from the Harvard dorm.[1][3][4] The business grew and went into temporary staffing related to Mac training, changing its name to MacTemps.[1] The name would change again to Aquent, intended to mean "not a follower" in Latin.[5]

The company has grown substantially and entered into new business areas through acquisitions.

The company saw a drop in revenue in 2001 in the aftermath of the dot-com bubble with revenue dropping in 2001 compared to 2000.[6] To counter the drop off in business, Aquent purchased Renaissance Worldwide Inc., a IT consultancy and staffing firm, for $106 million.[6] Aquent at that time had been known for offering staffing of print and web designers.[6] The deal allowed Aquent to also offer back end support staffers, which was considered by the company to complement well as a package solution.[6] The acquisition of Renaissance also included a municipal and state government IT consulting subsidiary, which as initially planned was sold months later in 2002 to EOne Global for $45 million.[7]

In 2003 the company made a hostile takeover offer for Computer Horizons Corporation, a computer network services company with a staffing business segment.[8] Aquent through its investment banker Robert W. Baird & Co. had initially approached Computer Horizon's management on April 3, 2013 with an invitation to have dinner, which was rejected by Bill Murphy, the President and CEO of Computer Horizons.[9] Aquent then proceeded to launch a cash tender offer on April 14, 2013 that valued Computer Horizons at $154 million.[9] This proposal was opposed by management and in May the offer was rejected.[9]

Aquent acquired Corporate Project Resources Inc. (CPRi), a staffing agency for marketing jobs, in 2005 for $25 million and renamed it Aquent Marketing Staffing while keeping its operations in Chicago.[10]


  1. ^ a b c "John Chuang". BizTech. November 27, 2007. 
  2. ^ "2015 Largest Marketing/Creative Staffing Firms in the United States". Staffing Industry Analysts. 
  3. ^ "Litl Introduces Its Web-Based Netbook". Wall Street Journal. November 4, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Sites to Help Professional Workers Who Like to Go It Alone". New York Times. October 14, 1999. 
  5. ^ "A Generation of Freelancers". New York Times. August 15, 1999. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Aquent acquires Renaissance". Boston Business Journal. December 31, 2001. 
  7. ^ "'E-Taxes' Fuel Merger". New York Times. April 18, 2002. 
  8. ^ "Computer Horizons Buys RGII Technologies". New York Times. July 10, 2003. 
  9. ^ a b c "Computer Horizons rejects Aquent bid". MarketWatch. May 2, 2003. 
  10. ^ "Aquent acquires CPRi". Ad Age. July 25, 2005.