DVV to acquire Centaur’s HR portfolio for £5M

DVV Media InternationalDVV Media International Ltd is to acquire Centaur Human Resources Ltd from Centaur Media PLC for £5 million. The deal is expected to complete at the end of April.

The sale of the HR business follows the recent disposals of Centaur’s financial services business, including brands such as Money Marketing and Mortgage Strategy, and its travel and meetings exhibitions, including the Business Travel Show and the Meetings Show, which will raise in aggregate £14.25 million. The company announcement reported that negotiations for the sale of other businesses are continuing.

centaur-logoThe portfolio of products includes the website and exhibition covering the employee rewards and benefits sector, Employee Benefits; along with the Forum for Expatriate Management, a service for companies with overseas employees.

“This is a very significant acquisition for our business,” said DVV Media International Managing Director Andy Salter. “Building on the strength of our existing Personnel Today brand, the new additions to the portfolio substantially increase our offering to the HR and recruiter services sector. Both Employee Benefits and the Forum for Expatriate Management have a powerful reputation. This is a perfect fit and we are looking forward to working with the new teams to develop our portfolio further.”

The Centaur HR portfolio consists of the following brands and activities:

  • EmployeeBenefits.co.uk: Digital resource for the UK’s reward and benefits industry, supplying news, analysis and research.
  • Employee Benefits Live: Dedicated reward and benefits exhibition with around 2000 visitors and 100 exhibitors and a comprehensive conference programme.
  • Employee Benefits Connect: Conference for senior reward and benefits decision makers.
  • Forum for Expatriate Management: Worldwide community for global mobility professionals. FEM serves the sector through 3 Confex and Awards events (US, APAC, EMEA), a European Confex, research reports, and through the provision of information and news online.

DVV’s current HR brands and events include Personnel Today, Personnel Today Awards, Personnel Today Jobs, Occupational Health & Wellbeing, WhatMedia and the RAD Awards.

All staff currently employed at Centaur Human Resources are expected to remain with the business and the company will remain in central London at DVV’s office there.

UK, Sutton & London

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DVV Media International

Centaur Media

Keywords Studios acquires Wizcorp

keywordsKeywords Studios, a technical services provider to the video games industry, has acquired Wizcorp Inc. for JPY 120 million from Ankama SAS and Silicon Studio Corporation (the “Sellers”).

Based in Tokyo, Japan, Wizcorp develops games on behalf of others mainly in the mobile space, with particular expertise in HTML5 and other mobile technologies.  Wizcorp was established in 2008 and has provided game development as a service to a wide variety of Japanese publishers and developers such as LINE, Square Enix, Avex, Yahoo Japan, and Bandai Namco, as well as undertaking game development for its parent company, Ankama.

Wizcorp’s 35-person strong team, led by CEO Guillaume Hansali, is made up of software engineers and artists from around the world. With annual revenues of JPY 310m, it is well established in the fast-paced Japanese mobile development market.

The business has not made a profit under its existing ownership structure. Keywords expect it to be able to achieve margins at similar levels to Keywords’ existing Engineering Service line once it builds scale and is aligned with their existing operations.

Christopher Kennedy, Regional Managing Director – Asia of Keywords Studios commented: “We look forward to replicating the success of our previous transaction with our long-standing client, Ankama, which saw us acquire their 23 people strong captive player support operation in Manila in March 2016 before building it into a multi-client player support hub that now employs 700 people. We see a strong opportunity to accelerate Wizcorp’s growth by building on its existing services for some of Ankama’s game development needs and providing it with opportunities to work with Keywords’ extensive client base.”

Ireland, Dublin and Japan, Tokyo

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Centaur Media Plc agrees sale of travel and meetings exhibitions to Northstar

centaur-logoCentaur, the international provider of business information and specialist consultancy, has entered into a conditional agreement to sell Centaur Media Travel and Meetings Limited, the owner of the Business Travel Show and The Meetings Show, to Northstar Travel Media UK Limited, a leading B2B information and marketing solutions company focused on the global travel and meetings industries. Completion of the disposal is expected to take place on 30 April 2019.

The disposal follows Centaur’s decision last October to explore the divestment of its smaller businesses in order to simplify the Group’s structure and to focus management resources on its leading brands. Centaur announced on 1 April 2019 that it has raised £5m from the sale of its financial services business, which includes brands such as Money Marketing and Mortgage Strategy.

Northstar will pay a cash consideration of £9.25m (subject to customary post-completion adjustments) for CTM, which formed part of the Group’s professional services division. Centaur will consider the best use for the sale proceeds following the completion of its divestment review.

Centaur’s professional services division comprises The Lawyer and a portfolio of market leading event brands across three sectors: travel and meetings, human resources and engineering.

Andria Vidler, Chief Executive of Centaur, said, “[This] is another important milestone in Centaur’s ongoing transformation. As we focus on building more robust and stronger recurring revenues, we are reducing Group complexity and overheads that will allow us to deliver efficiencies and improve our operating margins.”

For the year ended 31 December 2018, Centaur’s travel and meetings exhibitions made normalised earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation operating profit of £1.7m (before central overhead allocations), up from £1.6m in 2017, on revenues of £6.4m (2017: £6.1m). At 31 December 2018, the business had gross assets of £1.7m.

UK, London & USA, Secaucus, NJ

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DC Thomson Media acquires PSP Media

DC Thomson MediaDC Thomson Media has acquired PSP Media, a Glasgow-based publisher and event specialist. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Having bought No.1 magazine from PSP Media in 2015, a number of adjacencies and synergies were identified between the two businesses. With this acquisition, DC Thomson Media enters new markets including both B2B and B2C events and exhibitions of scale, and contract publishing.

Mike Watson, Chief Executive Officer at DC Thomson Media, said, “I’m thrilled to have Paul, Tom and the PSP team join the business. At DC Thomson Media we are working to protect our core newspaper and magazine business whilst achieving sustainable business growth. The diversification into new sectors that PSP Media brings is an exciting opportunity for everyone involved.”

UK, Dundee & Glasgow

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The Monarch Partnership acquires EIC and T-Mac Technologies

MonarchUtilities management company The Monarch Partnership has acquired Energy Intelligence Centre (EIC) and T-Mac Technologies. EIC and T-Mac Technologies made up the corporate division of Utilitywise Plc, the energy and utilities brokerage business that went into liquidation in February 2019. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Monarch Partnership is a wholly owned subsidiary of Majestic Securities Limited, which also owns ESS Utility Consultants and Smith Bellerby. All 130 staff from EIC and T-Mac Technologies will join The Monarch Partnership. Following the acquisition, the combined group will have 250 employees and combined revenues of £20 million. In the year to March 2018, Monarch Partnership had profits after tax of £2.45 million. The Majestic Securities group had profit after tax of £2.65 million on a turnover of £6.47 million.

Utilitywise acquired EIC from Broadfern Partners in 2013. After the acquisition Utilitywise rebranded the company as Energy Intelligence Centre. It was previously called Energy Information Centre.

Fusion Corporate Partners had sold EIC to Broadfern Partners in September 2007

Acting for Euromoney Institutional Investor, Fusion Corporate Partners sold Energy Information Centre to Broadfern Partners in September 2007 for £4.7 million. EIC had been bought by Euromoney in October 2006 as part of its £22 million acquisition of metal market news service Metal Bulletin.

EIC was founded in 1975 and now supports over 1,000 industrial and commercial businesses and public sector organisations in managing their energy and water requirements. T-Mac Technologies provides energy management and intelligent buildings systems to help clients reduce and monitor their energy consumption. Both businesses will continue to trade under their existing brand identities and operate out of their headquarters in Redditch, supported by offices in Newcastle and Bury St Edmunds.

Peter Dosanjh, Chairman and CEO at The Monarch Partnership, said: “We are building a premier utility consultancy focused on helping our customers to become fully sustainable energy users. Our depth and breadth of expertise is unrivalled, and we are now working with colleagues and clients across the organisation to integrate the businesses and become the UK’s leading intelligent utilities partner. It is great to have Brin (Brin Sheridan, Managing Director of EIC and T-Mac) on board and welcome EIC and T-Mac to the Group.” 

UK, Wallington, Surrey & Redditch, Worcestershire

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Bonhill Group to acquire Last Word Media for up to £10M

BonhillB2B media business Bonhill Group is to acquire Last Word MediaBonhill will pay an initial consideration of £8.0 million, £6.0 million in cash and £2.0 million through a share issue. A deferred payment of £2 million will be made dependent on the financial performance of Last Word during the years ending 31 December 2019 and 31 December 2020.

Last WordLast Word is an international B2B media business addressing the sales and marketing needs of the global asset management industry and information requirements of the wealth management industry.

Launched in 2005, Last Word is owned by its three founders Rod Boulogne, Jamie Hinchliffe and Dylan Emery, and the co-founder of its Asian operation, Tom Porter. Last Word has 71 staff based in its London head office with another 8 staff in Hong Kong and 3 staff in Singapore.

The business creates content, sales and marketing opportunities, networking events and transactional opportunities for its clients and audiences with the key objective to assist asset managers with increasing assets under management.

Last Word currently operates seven investor facing brands. These include seven news and information websites, two of which have associated print titles and, in 2018, the brands collectively hosted 86 scheduled live events. Last Word also operates a further three brands targeting asset managers with event services, content marketing solutions and research data products.

Last Word has approximately 190 clients, including Aberdeen Standard Investments, Allianz Global Investors, BNY Mellon Investment Management, Hermes Investments, Invesco, Janus Henderson, Jupiter Investments, Merian Global Investors, Schroders and T. Rowe Price.

In the year ended 31 December 2018, Last Word generated revenue of approximately £10.2 million (2017: £9.2 million) and had EBITDA of approximately £1.1 million (2017: £0.3 million). As at 31 December 2018, Last Word had consolidated net assets of approximately £1.42 million (2017: £0.78 million).

In the year ended 31 December 2018, 71 per cent. of total revenues were generated in the UK, 16 per cent. in Asia, 8 per cent. in Europe and the balance in the rest of the world. Of total revenues generated in the year ended 31 December 2018, Live Events accounted for 59 per cent., Business Information accounted for 26 per cent. and Data & Insight and content marketing together for 15 per cent

Simon Stilwell, Chief Executive of Bonhill, commented:

“We are pleased to announce the acquisition of Last Word, a leading international B2B media business servicing the global asset management sector.  Bringing our two businesses together will enable Bonhill to provide a truly global sales and marketing proposition to the international asset management community and provides the opportunity to leverage InvestmentNews’ presence and platform to expand its existing propositions in the US. These are exciting times for the Company and we look forward to the period ahead.”

UK, London

Centaur Media Plc sells financial services division to Metropolis

centaur-logoCentaur Media has sold its financial services division to Metropolis Group for £5 million.

The disposal follows Centaur’s decision last October to explore the divestment of its smaller businesses in order to simplify the Group’s structure and to focus management resources on its leading brands.

Metropolis has paid £5 million in cash for the division sold. Centaur will consider the best use for the proceeds following the completion of its divestment review.

Centaur’s financial services division comprises a portfolio of leading multi-channel publishing and content brands, including Money Marketing, Mortgage Strategy, Platforum, Taxbriefs and Headline Money. These brands generate advertising and other revenue by serving a range of audience segments within the financial services industry, including financial advisers, mortgage brokers, accountants and asset managers.

Andria Vidler, Chief Executive of Centaur, said, “This disposal continues the simplification of Centaur, further reducing our advertising exposure and allowing us to focus on developing products and services with stronger recurring revenues. A simpler group structure will allow us to deliver efficiencies and other operational benefits.

“Our financial services portfolio which includes Money Marketing has played a key role in the development of Centaur over the years, and I want to thank the teams for all their hard work. I am pleased that Metropolis sees the potential to develop the business further.”

Robert Marr, Chief Executive of Metropolis Group, added, “The acquisition continues the development of Metropolis and aligns with our vision of delivering sustainable profitable futures for well-managed media brands. We look forward to working together with the financial services team to further develop these long-standing market-leading brands.”

For the year ended 31 December 2018, Centaur’s financial services business made an adjusted operating profit of £1.2m, up from £0.6m in 2017, on revenues of £8.2m (2017: £8.9m). At 31 December 2018, the business had gross assets of £2.3m.

UK, London

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