Next Fifteen Communications Group acquires Brandwidth

Next15Next 15, the digital communications group, has acquired the digital innovation agency Brandwidth.

The initial consideration for the acquisition is £6.2 million, which will be settled with £4.9 million of cash and the issue of 292,235 new ordinary shares in Next 15. Further deferred consideration may be payable in September 2018 of up to £3.3 million and April 2020 of up to £0.8 million based on the EBIT performance of Brandwidth in the year ending 30 June 2018. The maximum total consideration of £10.3m represents a 5.5x multiple of Brandwidth’s adjusted EBIT in the year ended 30 June 2017. The acquisition is expected to be earnings enhancing for Next 15 in the year to 31 January 2019.

For the year ended 30 June 2017, Brandwidth reported adjusted net revenues of £7.3 million, adjusted EBIT of £1.9 million and adjusted profit before tax of £1.9 million. The joint CEOs, Phil Goodman and Jason Jones, and the Chairman, Andrew Strange, will continue to lead the business which includes clients such as Toyota, Royal Caribbean, Citroen, Kia and Vodafone.

Tim Dyson, CEO of Next 15, commented: “Brandwidth is a great addition to Next 15. It brings significant digital skills to the Group, in particular we are excited to be able to offer clients its capabilities around the use of voice. We see voice, through platforms such as Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa, as a highly disruptive form of marketing. Their knowledge and experience of working with these technologies are of immense value.”

UK, London

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RELX Group to acquire ThreatMetrix

RELXRELX Group is to acquire ThreatMetrix, a digital identity company that helps businesses prevent online fraud, for £580m in cash.

ThreatMetrix is headquartered in San Jose, California and founded in 2005. ThreatMetrix’s technology analyses connections among devices, locations, anonymised identity information and threat intelligence, and combines this data with behavioural analytics to identify high-risk digital behaviour and transactions in real time.

ThreatMetrix has client relationships across financial services, e-commerce, and media sectors and offers authentication solutions for account origination, payments, “card not present” transactions and account logins.

ThreatMetrix’s Digital Identity Network analyses over 100 million transactions per day across 35,000 websites from 5,000 customers. It is one of the largest repositories of online digital identities in the world, encompassing 1.4 billion unique online identities from 4.5 billion devices in 185 countries.

ThreatMetrix will become part of Risk & Business Analytics under the LexisNexis Risk Solutions brand. LexisNexis Risk Solutions already has an established commercial partnership with ThreatMetrix, including ThreatMetrix’s device intelligence solutions in its Risk Defense Platform.

Risk & Business Analytics CEO, Mark Kelsey, said: “ThreatMetrix is widely recognised as a leader in the digital identity space. Bringing that together with our own strengths in physical identity attributes will give our clients across all forms of commerce and geographies a more reliable, comprehensive approach to fraud and identity risk management while maintaining the privacy and security principles our customers have come to expect. The acquisition is in line with our organic growth driven strategy, supported by acquisitions of targeted data sets and analytics that are natural additions to our existing business.”

In 2017, RELX Group completed eight acquisitions for a total consideration of £123m, and disposed of 17 assets for a total of £87m.

USA, New York & UK, London & The Netherlands, Amsterdam & USA, San Jose, CA

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Global publishing tech company MVF acquires Tech.co

MVFMVF, a global customer generation business, has acquired technology news brand, Tech.co. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 2006 by co-founders Frank Gruber and Jen Consalvo, Tech.co has transformed from a community-building ‘Tech Cocktail’ event to a media brand with millions of readers around the world.

MVF US CEO Bjorn Zellweger said, “With an established brand and engaged audience, [Tech.co]’s the perfect fit for MVF. We’re looking forward to furthering the brand’s reach through our digital marketing expertise, while continuing to invest in great content, bringing the latest tech news and useful resources to even more global readers.”

Tech.co founders Frank Gruber and Jen Consalvo will focus on their work advising, investing, and consulting while they continue to grow Startup of the Year and Innovate Celebrate.

USA, Austin, TX & Las Vegas, NV

Vested acquires Templars Communications

VestedIn its first acquisition, the public relations agency Vested has acquired Templars Communications, a strategic financial public relations and communications consultancy who represent financial services companies, including investment houses, pension providers, AIM listed companies, custodians of wealth and reporting specialists, and alternative finance providers. The terms were undisclosed.

Ishviene Arora, co-founder and chief operating officer of Vested, said “We’ve been looking for the right opportunity to establish an office in London, and acquiring Templars was a natural next step. Our two firms are passionate about the financial industry and share a zealous commitment to delivering value to clients, and we’re excited to seize the opportunities this combination will create for us and for our clients.”

USA, New York, NY & UK, London

Accenture Agrees to Acquire Mackevision

AccentureAccenture has entered into an agreement to acquire Germany-based Mackevision, a leading global producer of 3D-enabled and immersive product content. The acquisition will add state-of-the-art visualization capabilities to Accenture Interactive’s digital services portfolio – strengthening its ability to create compelling, next-generation customer experiences and industrial, extended reality applications. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions. Financial terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

Mackevision’s creation, visualization and production services are used for online product configurators, digital and print catalogues, virtual showrooms, point-of-sale kiosks, augmented and virtual reality experiences, as well as broadcast video and feature films. Mackevision has developed a differentiated ability to leverage engineering data to construct ‘digital twins’ of complex physical products. By applying the latest techniques in CGI, visual effects and AR/VR, Mackevision can generate nearly any type of visual content from these twins – effectively turning engineering data into immersive product experiences and virtual applications. This highly-specialized approach has the potential to transform product design as well as fuel the next generation of consumer experiences.

Mackevision has earned international acclaim for its work on the HBO Series “Game of Thrones” – for which it was awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Visual Effects. The company’s high-end creative and visual effects capability is especially relevant in the growing field of extended reality, where life-like models and environments are considered critical to creating fully-immersive experiences.

Brian Whipple, head of Accenture Interactive, said, “Mackevision’s capabilities will add a whole new dimension of content innovation to our portfolio of services. The ‘digital twin’ concept has massive implications not only from a scaled media production and marketing standpoint, but also for our broader vision of helping clients render the most compelling experiences possible.”

Ireland, Dublin & Germany, Stuttgart

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The News Lens acquires tech news website Inside

The News LensThe News Lens has acquired Inside, a tech-focused Chinese language news website, making TNL the first digital media startup in Taiwan to buy another one. The move will raise TNL to the top ranks of Asian digital news sources on technology. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

With Inside, TNL’s lifestyle sub-brand ELD and the original Chinese-language news site TNL, the TNL group now reaches close to 8 million unique visitors a month. From its offices in Taipei and Hong Kong, TNL produces three other digital editions – Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, and the English-language international edition.

TNL also welcomed a new angel investor, Felix Hong, manager of Nest (an Alphabet company) to the Taiwan office. Hong will serve as an adviser to TNL. With his extensive background in tech, the internet of things and the startup ecosystem within greater China, Hong will strengthen TNL’s presence in content distribution, international reach and content advisory. He will also help TNL to position and build Inside.

Joey Chung, TNL’s CEO and co-founder, said, “As we start our next stage strategy of gradually consolidating and introducing different verticals for our target audience with an eye on leveraging TNL’s existing sales, video, IT and international market presence, we are eager to broaden the content offerings and international audience reach of Inside, while using this initial integration experience as a template for acquiring or introducing future brands.”

Taiwan

Merkle’s Dentsu Aegis Network Acquires HelloWorld

Dentsu Aegis NetworkDentsu Aegis Network has acquired HelloWorld, a digital marketing solutions provider focused on promotion and loyalty solutions. With 370 people and a proprietary technology platform, The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1999 in Detroit, Michigan, HelloWorld employs 370 people and has developed a differentiated practice that links response-driven consumer promotion with loyalty strategies and programme execution. HelloWorld creates promotional and gamified campaigns to spark interest, loyalty programs to retain and reward, insights-driven communications to continue the brand-consumer conversation, and analytics to optimise marketing execution. Long-standing clients include Coca Cola, Johnson & Johnson, and Microsoft.

Michael Hemsey, executive vice president of Merkle Loyalty Solutions, said, “The acquisition of HelloWorld increases our collective scale in providing loyalty strategy, technology, and engagement services that support the life cycle of our clients’ programs, across industries.”

USA, New York, NY & Detroit, MI

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