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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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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Bowmark Capital sells Law Business Research to Levine Leichtman Capital Partners

lbrLevine Leichtman Capital Partners has acquired Law Business Research (LBR), a provider of research, news, data and insight on international business law and legal markets, from Bowmark Capital.

LBR, which was established in 1996, was sold to Bowmark in 2013. The sale was managed by Fusion Corporate Partners on behalf of its original founders, Richard Davey, Callum Campbell and Sebastian O’Meara.

LBR creates content spanning 120 jurisdictions across its brands, serving a client base that comprises major corporations, government agencies and the global legal industry.  It is a information provider in fields such as competition law, arbitration law, cross-border investigations and Latin American corporate law.

Since Bowmark acquired the company, LBR has more than doubled its sales and profits.  It has added new territories and products, including two new titles, ’Global Investigations Review’ and ’Global Restructuring Review’, as well as a new workflow application, ’Arbitrator Research Tool’.  It has also significantly enhanced its technology platform and opened offices overseas.   During this period, employee numbers grew by 80 per cent.

Julian Masters, Bowmark senior partner, added: “The fact that 96 per cent of the world’s top law firms work with LBR is a tribute to the quality of the business and its management team.  The company is well-positioned to continue its strong record of success under its new owner.”

USA, Beverley Hills, CA & UK, London