Ascential acquires WARC for £24M

ascentialMedia and events business Ascential plc has acquired WARC Limited for an initial cash consideration of £19.5m, plus deferred consideration of £4.5m payable in 2019.  The acquisition is expected to complete on 2 July 2018.

WARC is a digital subscription business that helps brands, agencies and media platforms assess marketing effectiveness across all channels.  It provides information and insight to understand and measure multi-channel advertising effectiveness.  Founded in 1985, the business offers advertising best practice, evidence and insights from the world’s leading brands.  The business employs approximately 90 people with offices in London, Washington DC and Singapore and serves approximately 1,200 customers globally. 

In the year to 31 March 2018 WARC generated unaudited revenue of £10.8m (a growth of 10%) and EBITDA of £2.2m.  Gross assets at 31 March 2018 were £9.6m

Duncan Painter, CEO of Ascential, commented: “Ascential enables its customers to win in the digital economy.  WARC is an important step forward as we continue to grow our digital offering, adding breadth and depth to our marketing proposition.  Alongside Cannes Lions’ The Work, our recent digital product launch, we will now have a digital subscription product of scale encompassing both creative excellence and marketing effectiveness.”

UK, London

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American Media acquires celebrity and kids group titles from Bauer Media USA

American Media IncAmerican Media, Inc., has agreed to purchase the celebrity group and the teenage and kids group of Bauer Media USA. Details of the transaction were not disclosed but it is expected to close on or about July 1, 2018. With this agreement, AMI will take ownership of the complementary print and digital properties for the 13 brands within these two groups. Titles such as In Touch, Life & Style, Closer, J-14 and Teen Boss will round out AMI’s current portfolio.

AMI owns and operates the leading print and digital celebrity and active lifestyle media brands in the United States. AMI’s titles include Us Weekly, OK!, Star, Men’s Journal, Muscle & Fitness, Mr. Olympia Contest, National Enquirer and other celebrity titles. AMI also manages nine different digital sites including Usmagazine.com, OKmagazine.com, RadarOnline.com, MensJournal.com, MuscleandFitness.com and other digital and social properties. AMI’s magazines have a combined total circulation of 5.3+ million and reach more than 51 million men and women each month. AMI’s digital properties reach approximately 60 million unique visitors monthly.

Chairman and CEO David J. Pecker, said, “It gives me great pleasure to announce this acquisition which provides AMI with an extraordinary opportunity to further build upon the success of our entertainment group. AMI has built an award-winning portfolio of celebrity brands second to none in the industry. Our leadership team will remain focused on growth, innovation and continued disruption with today’s changes designed to further reinforce our leading position in the publishing industry and foster remarkable storytelling across all of our brands and platforms.”

USA, New York, NY & Englewood Cliffs, NJ

GoCompare.com acquires energy switching specialist Energylinx for £10M

go-compare-logo-newGoCompare.com Group plc has acquired Energylinx for £10m in cash.

Energylinx is an energy comparison and switching specialist and has commercial relationships 69 domestic energy and 40 business energy suppliers. Customers include Which? and Citizens Advice Bureau. The company operates a white-label proposition, with around 200 active affiliates.

Matthew Crummack, CEO of GoCompare, said: “We are pleased to announce this acquisition, which marks yet another significant milestone for the Group as we continue to build services that work for both our customers and partners. Energylinx has an excellent reputation in the industry among energy suppliers and those who use its white-label services, and we will leverage our strong brand, tech and product capabilities to expand its reach and impact to help save even more people time and money.

Energylinx is headquartered in Alloa, Scotland and employs a team of 20 staff. Following completion, Ken Geddes, founder and CEO will join the Group.

UK, Wales, Newport & UK, Scotland, Alloa

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UBM acquires Expomed and live healthcare events in Latin America

UBMUBM has acquired annual healthcare exhibition ExpoMed from LIVEMED in Mexico and Live Healthcare in Brazil from founders Dr. Vitor Assentuno and Dr. Raphael Gordilho. The terms of the transactions were not disclosed.

ExpoMed connects vendors of medical equipment to buyers and executives from private and public hospitals, clinics and distributors. Held each June in Mexico City, the show is considered the must-attend healthcare event in Mexico. The most recent edition of ExpoMed took place 6-8 June 2018 at the World Trade Center Mexico City, where it drew in more than 8,000 buyers and 342 exhibition companies spanning a more than 44,000 square foot showfloor.

Based in Brazil, Live Healthcare is an event platform that connects major healthcare players to inspire industry change and empower leaders. Live brings with it the Saude Business Forum, which focuses on executive networking and one-on-one meetings for healthcare CEOs and innovative vendors, as well as the Healthcare Innovation Show, a technology and innovation exhibition attended by senior healthcare executives. Live also runs the healthcare portal saudebusiness.com, which drives database and community engagement for the events.

Scott Schulman, CEO of UBM Americas, said, “Healthcare is a strategic vertical for UBM Americas, particularly in Mexico and Brazil, where public and private healthcare spending and service markets are growing rapidly. With ExpoMed’s leading position in Mexico and Live Healthcare’s complementary fit with UBM Brazil’s existing Hospitalar event, we are confident that these two bolt-on acquisitions will greatly contribute to the long-term growth of our healthcare portfolio – and our position as a leader in the Latin America healthcare market.”

Jaime Salazar Figueroa, director general and managing director of UBM México, said, “ExpoMed is by far the largest healthcare event in Mexico and adds another market-leading brand to our portfolio. The acquisition gives us the opportunity to serve the second-largest medical device market in Latin America and to pursue synergies with our healthcare portfolio in Brazil.”

UK, London, Mexico, Mexico City & Brasil, Sao Paulo

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Keywords acquires Blindlight for up to $10M

keywordsKeywords Studios, the international technical services provider to the global video games industry, has acquired Blindlight LLC for a consideration of up to $10m, from the founder, Lev Chapelsky.

Blindlight achieved EBITDA of an average of $1m per annum over the three-year period to 31 December 2017. Under the terms of the acquisition Keywords is paying an initial $3.64m in cash and will issue 64,521 new ordinary shares in Keywords to the seller on the first anniversary of the acquisition which will then be subject to orderly market provisions for a further 12 months. Deferred consideration of up to $4.8m will be payable to the seller in cash depending on the performance of the business in the 12-month periods to the first and second anniversaries of the acquisition.

Founded in 2001 and based in Hollywood, California, Blindlight enjoys a leading position in the provision of Hollywood production services for the video games industry. The company works on behalf of game publishers and developers in procuring specialised talent and managing the entire production processes for the parts of games that benefit from Hollywood production resources. Blindlight’s service disciplines include voiceover production, celebrity acquisition and rights management, game writing, music, sound design and motion capture.

Andrew Day, CEO of Keywords Studios, said, “Keywords and Blindlight have got to know each other well over the past three years and we see good opportunities to leverage both businesses to offer a wider range of world leading services to our clients. We are delighted to welcome Lev and the rest of the team to the Keywords family. Following our recent acquisition of music services companies, Cord Worldwide and Laced, we see excellent opportunities for Blindlight to bring these services to Los Angeles, as well as providing access to further opportunities for our downstream production services of translation and localised voice over.”

Ireland, Dublin & USA, West Hollywood, CA

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Bridgepoint Development Capital to acquire Private Equity International

BridgepointBridgepoint Development Capital is to acquire a majority stake in PEI Media – the global provider of insight, market-data and business conferences for professionals active in alternative asset class investment. Details of the transaction were not disclosed. The business is being acquired from its founders, management and minority shareholder, LDC.

PEI Media focuses on private investment markets in real estate, infrastructure, private equity, and private debt – including specialist sector-specific activities within those private asset markets. The group has developed deep connections with international sources of alternative investment capital since its inception in 2001. Clients served include public sector and company pension plans, insurance groups, endowments and family offices – as well as leading private-asset fund managers who raise and deploy capital raise from institutional investors.

PEI was formed following a management buyout from Euromoney Institutional Investor plc. It has grown a diversified portfolio of alternative asset-focused publications, databases and branded events. Headquartered in London with offices in Hong Kong and New York, the company currently employs around 180 people and has clients based in over 80 countries. The company’s publications include PERE, Infrastructure Investor, Private Debt Investor, Private Equity International, Real Estate Capital, Private Funds Management, Agri Investor and Secondaries Investor, amongst others.

BDC Partner Robin Lawson said, “PEI is recognised for its differentiated insight into the worlds of multiple alternative asset classes. As investors look for higher yields, continued inflows into these classes means that there is growing demand for the information, analysis and event-networking opportunities of providers like PEI. Today’s investment by BDC will support the continued international expansion of the business as well as further development of its technology platform and digital product set. Our aim in working with PEI’s management will be to ensure that it remains best-placed to scale its digital offering in a growing market and deliver progressive evolution of its specialist-brand in line with advancing client needs. In this way, we expect that increasingly sophisticated customers, both existing and new, will remain able to access the information and market connections they increasingly need to be successful in their global alternative investment strategies.”

UK, London

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CloserStill acquires majority stake in Masie Productions’ “Learning Conference”

CloserStillCloserStill Media, the London-based exhibition and conference organiser, has entered a joint venture with Masie Productions to produce future editions of the Learning Conference in Orlando. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The Learning Conference draws around 2,000 delegates from the technology and corporate learning sectors each year and more than 40 commercial sponsors in the learning and technology field. In 2017, former First Lady Michelle Obama and actor John Lithgow were keynote speakers and Leslie Odom Jr., author of “Failing Up”, and star of Broadway hit musical Hamilton and author Dan Pink will head the international speaker faculty of ‘Learning 2018’ in November.

Elliott Masie is among the most well-known figures in the global eLearning industry. He is founder of the Masie Center, an international learning lab, and chair of The Learning Consortium, a 20 year old collaboration of Fortune 500 companies. Under the new partnership with CloserStill, Masie will continue to lead the programme curation and act as host for the Learning Conference for the new JV company – CSM Learning, LLC.

A new focus on disruptive technologies will form part of Learning 2018, with the introduction of Tech @Learning – a multi-strand content programme focussing on adaptive learning, artificial intelligence and machine learning, emerging assessment technologies, chatbots, immersive realities, edTech and venture innovations.

CloserStill’s Learning Group Director, Mark Penton, said: “We are thrilled and honoured to be working with Elliott and his team. Elliott is an innovator and a disruptor and we feel that our combined global experience in the learning world will make for a very exciting new era for the Learning Conference which we have long admired and respected”.

UK, London & USA, Saratoga Springs, NY

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