Skift acquires Airline Weekly

SkiftTravel industry intelligence and marketing platform Skift has acquired Airline Weekly, including its subscription-based newsletter and related assets. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Launched in 2004 by Jay Shabat, Seth Kaplan and Jason Cottrell, the publication provides insight and analysis of the commercial passenger airline industry worldwide.

Rafat Ali, founder and CEO of Skift, said, “Now that we are in our sixth year at Skift, we have been exploring various ways to expand our roots in the travel sector and go deeper into our existing focus areas with more expertise. With Airline Weekly, the Airline Innovation Report, and our global forums, Skift now offers the strongest business coverage of commercial aviation in the world”.

USA, New York, NY & Fort Myers, FL

SiriusXM to acquire music-streaming company Pandora

SiriusXMSatellite radio company SiriusXM will acquire music streaming service Pandora in a transaction valued at $3.5 billion. The proposed deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year, subject to the approval of Pandora stockholders.

The merger offers Sirius a major music-streaming asset as tens of millions of listeners turn to streaming apps in an increasingly crowded market, with Pandora enjoying the largest audio streaming audience in the U.S, according to industry estimates. Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music Unlimited, have hitherto posed stiff competition.

The transaction would combine SiriusXM’s 36 million subscribers in North America with Pandora’s more than 70 million monthly active users. The two companies are expected to have combined revenue of about $7 billion this year. Pandora’s stock rose more than 3 percent in afternoon trading when the deal was announced.

Sirius XM’s chief executive Jim Meyer said of the two companies, “Together, we will deliver even more of the best content on radio to our passionate and loyal listeners, and attract new listeners, across our two platforms.” He also said his goal is to create value through subscriptions, “No matter who comes into one of our trial tunnels, no matter where they come in, our goal ought to be that as they exit that trial, somewhere somehow, they are in a funnel which we’re monetizing.”

USA, New York, NY & Oakland, CA

Wunderman acquires Amazon-focused content and campaign agency 2Sales

WundermanWPP‘s wholly owned global digital agency Wunderman, has acquired 2Sales International S.A., an ecommerce consulting agency.

2Sales supports global brands in building their business on Amazon, and will become part of Wunderman’s global commerce offering, Wunderman Commerce. 

2Sales employs 66 people in Luxembourg and is a one-stop Amazon solution that utilises automated processes to optimise content generation, sales and promotions across eight international Amazon platforms. Clients include Acco, Columbia, Fiskars and SC Johnson.

UK, London & USA, New York, NY & Luxembourg

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Bauer Media to acquire Jazz FM

Bauer Media GroupThe Bauer Media Group has agreed to acquire Jazz FM, the UK’s national commercial radio service for jazz, soul and blues, which reaches 672,000 people weekly. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Paul Keenan, CEO of Bauer Media, said, “Jazz FM is a much loved, respected and influential brand, with strong growth potential, we look forward to developing it further. Jazz music is seeing an unprecedented resurgence, and this extends us into an entirely new and complementary radio audience. […]I believe that Jazz FM’s expertise combined with our knowledge and experience in digital and personalised advertising technology such as Bauer’s InStream+ will propel the brand for both listeners and advertisers. We look forward to working with the team to grow the business.”

Germany, Hamburg & UK, London

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 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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YouGov acquires SMG Insight

smg_0YouGov, a market research and data analytics group, has acquired SMG Insight Limited, a global sports research agency. During 2010, YouGov formed a strategic research partnership with SMG Insight to support the agency’s growth and the Company has since held a 20% stake in the business. YouGov is to acquire the remaining 80% stake.

SMG Insight specialises in media measurement and sponsorship evaluation in the sports sector. With operations in the UK, US, UAE, India and Australia, SMG Insight has developed a global network of industry contacts and sponsors including the ATP World Tour, Emirates and the Volvo Ocean Race.

The remaining 80% stake is being acquired from Frank Saez, the founder and Managing Director of SMG Insight, who will continue in his role leading the team of 55 employees.  

As at 31 March 2018, SMG Insight had gross assets of £2.4 million and it generated £1.2 million PBT in the year to 31 March 2018. Cash consideration of £1 million is payable at completion, with a further £1 million payable in 12 months, in addition to deferred consideration reflecting a 4.25x multiple of EBITDA to be paid over a three year period. Total consideration is capped at £21 million.

Stephan Shakespeare, CEO of YouGov, commented: “For the SMG team, this represents a logical and exciting development as they see a strong partner of many years become a strong and committed parent. Frank and his team are leaders in the industry, and this deal represents another positive step in line with our guiding strategy: to align differentiated products and services in a single connected data system and generate new opportunities for growth.”

UK, London

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