Exponent acquires Dennis Publishing

Exponent PEExponent is to acquire Dennis Publishing, a multi-platform international media group which owns several award-winning brands including its flagship title, The Week.

Initial reports from Sky News suggested Exponent could pay between £150m and £200m, with The Week alone valued at around £100m, although the final amount was unconfirmed.

Dennis is a leading consumer media and e-commerce organisation, based in London and New York. Its portfolio consists of over 30 brands across four main areas of focus: Current Affairs, Technology, Automotive and Special Interest. In addition to The Week, it is home to several well-known brands including MoneyWeek, The Week Junior, BuyACar.co.uk, Auto Express, CarBuyer, Computer Active, Alphr.com, Cyclist and Viz, among others. Across all its brands it reaches over 50 million readers and sells over 2.5 million magazines every month.

Dennis is the first investment to be made from Exponent’s fourth fund, Exponent Private Equity Partners IV, LP.

Commenting on the acquisition, David McGovern of Exponent, said, “Dennis is a unique, innovative and dynamic publishing and e-commerce business. We believe that there is a significant opportunity to grow both its print and digital platforms, which will allow it to reach and engage even more readers and customers. Exponent is delighted to back James Tye and his team. We look forward to combining their expert knowledge with our own deep experience in consumer media and e-commerce to help further develop Dennis’ strong market positions and build on Felix Dennis’ legacy.”

Dick Pountain, on behalf of the Executors of the Felix Dennis estate, said, “The Executors of Felix Dennis’ estate are delighted to agree the sale of Dennis Publishing to Exponent. We see Exponent as excellent partners for Dennis; their track record in media is extremely strong and we have confidence in their ability to continue to grow the size and reputation of the company that Felix created almost 50 years ago.

The proceeds of this sale go to the Heart of England Forest (HoEF), a charity which Felix established during his lifetime. This endowment will enable the charity to create Felix’s ambitious vision – planting and maintaining the largest contiguous, broadleaf woodland for public enjoyment that the UK has seen in a century. The sale ensures not just a bright future for all involved but will create a lasting and important legacy for future generations.”

UK, London

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Ascential PLC acquires Clavis Insight

ClavisAscential PLC has acquired Clavis Insight for an initial cash consideration of $119 million plus future earn outs payable over three years.  

Clavis provides eCommerce analytics, with proprietary technology enabling consumer product companies to track and optimise the performance of their products across hundreds of retailer websites and mobile commerce sites globally.   Clavis customers include some of the world’s largest consumer product companies, such as P&G, Nestle, Unilever and L’Oreal.

 Clavis will join Ascential’s Information Services division and is complementary to One Click Retail.  Clavis employs 170 people, including 100 in Dublin, with hub locations in the US, UK, France and China serving a global customer base.

In the year to 31 December 2016 Clavis generated unaudited revenue of $13 million and an EBITDA loss of $7 million.  Gross assets at 31 December 2016 were $19 million.  Revenue is expected to grow to $17 million in the current financial year ended 2017 and Clavis is expected to break even in 2018.  Clavis has a high level of recurring revenue with 95% of total revenue being subscription-based.

The initial cash consideration is $119 million.  The earn out is payable in cash based on the annualised recurring revenue of the business at the end of each of the next three years to 2020 and is expected to total between approximately $25 million and $50 million.  A portion of the earn out is subject to founders remaining in employment with the company.  

Duncan Painter, CEO, Ascential, commented: “Ascential enables its customers to improve their business performance.  As a high growth business that offers synergies with our existing brands, Clavis fits well with our strategy, strengthening our eCommerce analytics offering for consumer product companies.  Through combination with OCR’s offering, we will provide ever more comprehensive, accurate and actionable analytics and insight.”

UK, London & Dublin, Ireland

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Homeserve acquires 40% of Checkatrade and 70% of Habitissimo for a combined £37M

homeserveHomeServe plc, the home repair and improvements business, has acquired shareholdings in Checkatrade in the UK and Habitissimo in Spain, two separate businesses that provide access to high quality tradespeople performing home repairs and improvements via online platforms.

Checkatrade, based in Selsey, is a UK online directory of customer recommended tradespeople with nearly 1m unique customer visits a month, resulting in approximately 1.3m jobs per annum.  HomeServe has acquired a 40 per cent interest in the business with an option to increase its position by a further 35 per cent in two years.

Habitissimo is an international online business that provides support for home improvements and repairs, connecting homeowners to trusted local tradespeople.  Based in Mallorca (Spain), Habitissimo receives over 3.6 million unique customer visits a month, resulting in approximately 0.25m jobs per annum across nine countries in Europe (Spain, Portugal, Italy and France) and Latin America (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Colombia).  HomeServe has acquired a 70 per cent interest in the business with an option to increase its position by a further 30 per cent in either four or five years’ time.

The combined consideration for these two acquisitions was £37 million.

Richard Harpin, Chief Executive, HomeServe plc, commented: “Our investments in Checkatrade and Habitissimo underline HomeServe’s ambition to be at the forefront of the technological revolution as the world’s most trusted provider of home repairs and improvements.  Both of these businesses provide innovative digital platforms, connecting customers to reliable tradespeople.  With leading positions in the home repair and improvements market, these businesses will broaden HomeServe’s reach enabling us to meet the needs of younger, non-insurance minded customers who are looking to find immediate help from a wide range of home trades.

UK, Walsall, West Midlands & UK, Selsey, West Sussex & Spain, Palma De Mallorca, Islas Baleares

 

Time Out Group acquires YPlan

Time Out Group plc has acquired Leanworks Limited (YPlan). London-based YPlan is the “mobile-first” events discovery and booking platform. It offers a mix of event tickets on its app and website allowing people to discover and book things to do in the city. Combined with Time Out’s curated content, this addition will enable the Company’s monthly global audience of 137 million to discover, book and share what the world’s cities have to offer.

Since its foundation in 2012, YPlan has invested heavily in the development of an award-winning e-commerce platform and associated software for the events industry as well as in customer acquisition marketing. As a result, in the year to 31 December 2015, being its last full financial year, YPlan generated a pre-tax loss of £6.2m. Subsequent reductions in its cost base have materially reduced losses in the current year.  Consequently, the transaction is expected to be mildly dilutive to Time Out’s earnings in the current financial year and broadly neutral in 2017.

Julio Bruno, CEO of Time Out Group plc, commented: “Developing e-commerce and monetising our audience is an important element of our ambitious growth strategy. We acquired YPlan because its advanced technology will significantly accelerate this strategy. It will enable us to offer our large audience more online booking opportunities, whilst improving the user experience.”

The consideration will be payable in Time Out ordinary shares. 1,166,644 shares will be issued and payable on completion with a value of £1.6 million based on a share price of £1.393. A deferred issue of ordinary shares with a value of up to £0.8 million is also payable 12 months after completion subject to no warranty claims being made.

UK, London

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Ascentual acquires One Click Retail

ascentialAscential plc, the  business-to-business media company has acquired US-based e-commerce analytics provider Oneclickretail.com LLC for an initial cash consideration of $44 million plus future earn outs.  

Future earn outs, based on multiples of adjusted EBITDA, are payable in the four years 2016 to 2019  in cash or, for certain elements, shares at Ascential’s option.  A portion of the earn-out payments is also subject to founders remaining in employment with the company.  The total aggregate consideration, including initial consideration and earn out payments, is capped at $225 million in the event that stretching profit targets are reached. The transaction is expected to complete on 31 August 2016.

one-clickOne Click Retail provides data analytics to help brands optimise their eCommerce activities.  Customers include Procter & Gamble, HP, Unilever, Hamilton Beach, Nestle and Panasonic.  Revenue is generated predominantly through recurring annual subscriptions to the company’s Dashboard product which provides insights to help customers drive sales through Amazon and other eCommerce retailers.  The insights focus on product market share, its drivers, and the actions that can be taken to increase sales.

 One Click Retail had revenue of $4.9 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $3.4 million for the twelve month period ending December 2015, with a year-on-year growth of 59% and 78% respectively.  Gross assets at December 2015 amounted to $0.8 million.  Annualised subscription contract value stood at $10.1 million as of July 2016.

Duncan Painter, Chief Executive Officer of Accentual said, “We are delighted to welcome One Click Retail and Spencer and his team to Ascential.  It is a quality business that we have been tracking for some time in an exciting part of the retail vertical.  As a high-growth, globally scalable subscription information service product, One Click Retail fits with Ascential’s strategy of owning scalable, global market-leading products and we look forward to helping its talented management team to accelerate its growth.”

The company was founded in 2013 by former Amazon and Walmart executive Spencer Millerberg, and is based in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

UK, London & USA, Salt Lake City, UT

PCH acquires Fab

pchPCH, a privately held Irish company which designs custom manufacturing solutions for startup companies and with USA headquarters in San Francisco, has acquired the ecommerce website Fab.com for an undisclosed amount of cash and equity.

Tech Crunch had reported that that Fab was selling to PCH for around $15 million. Fab had raised $165 million at a $1 billion valuation just over a year ago!

In recent months, Fab has undergone significant restructuring to bring costs in line with sales, to stabilize operations, and to grow its core audience of urban professionals and design enthusiasts.

FabAs part of the deal, 35 Fab employees – including engineers, merchants, graphic designers and marketers – will remain with the company. Fab founder and former CEO Jason Goldberg has stepped down as CEO and will not be involved with the business going forward. Renee Wong, general manager since May 2014, will continue to run day-to-day operations.

Key hires in merchandising and marketing will be added to supplement the experienced core team, and additional measures will be undertaken to grow the business and attract established and emerging designers. PCH will also explore forming a design advisory board and recruiting a creative director in residence.

“We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Fab,” said PCH Founder and CEO Liam Casey. “We love the brand, the customer experience, and the focus on lifestyle products. We see an opportunity to reinvigorate the Fab audience – keeping the current focus, and adding a variety of more distinct and exclusive goods from designers. And because Fab has a flexible and dynamic technology platform, we have a good foundation to test new selling modes that will excite customers.”

Ireland, Cork & USA, San Francisco, CA

Slyce buys SnipSnap for $6.5 mln

Visual product search platform Slyce Inc. has acquired mobile couponing company, SnipSnap App Limited Liability Company for $6.5 million, made up of: US$1 million in cash payable at closing, plus US$3 million in Common Shares issued at Closing Date at an issue price of CDN$0.80 per share and up to US$2.5 million in Common Shares issued at future determined share prices, upon the achievement of revenue milestones by December 31st, 2015 and December 31st, 2016.

Slyce CEO Mark Elfenbein said of the acquisition, “SnipSnap and its four million users represent an enormous opportunity for Slyce to widen its service offering to leading retailers. The team has solved a huge problem for retailers-effectively building a bridge between analog and digital coupon distribution. Furthermore, this acquisition enables users who are already taking photos of coupons to now take photos of real world items, a natural extension of the SnipSnap app’s current use case. With the addition of the SnipSnap platform and team including founder Ted Mann, Slyce instantly becomes the go-to provider of not just visual search applications but the very best out-of-store customer engagement solutions for retailers.”

SnipSnap Founder Ted Mann will continue to lead SnipSnap, which will remain based in Philadelphia.

Canada, Toronto, ON