M&C Saatchi sells its stake in Walker Media to Publicis Groupe

M&C SaatchiM&C Saatchi has sold its remaining 24.9% stake in media agency Walker Media to Publicis Groupe for £25 million in cash.

In the financial year ended 31 December 2017 Walker Media contributed associate income of £1.6m with the investment in associates valued at £10.7m on the balance sheet.

David Kershaw, CEO, M&C Saatchi, said, “M&C Saatchi has started many businesses. Walker Media was one of the first and has been one of the greatest. Christine, Phil and Simon have done a magnificent job, latterly with Publicis Media and we owe them all a huge debt of gratitude. M&C Saatchi has evolved considerably over the past 20 years and we believe now is the right time to realise the value of our minority stake, to support our entrepreneurial strategy of starting new businesses and building the stars of tomorrow.”

UK, London

reach4entertainment to acquire 50% stake in Buzz 16 Productions

r4ereach4entertainment enterprises plc, an entertainment marketing communications group, is to acquire 50% of the issued share capital of Buzz 16 Productions Limited. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Buzz 16, which was founded in 2016, creates both short and long form sports orientated content and is co-owned by shareholders including former Manchester United player and broadcaster, Gary Neville, along with former Sky Sports Premier League producer, Scott Melvin.

Gary Neville

Gary Neville sells 50% of Buzz 16

Buzz 16 has been responsible for a number of sports-related productions in recent years, including “Class of 92: Full Time”, which became Sky Sports most downloaded series in 2018, and “SoccerBox”.

Gary, Scott and the Buzz 16 team will continue to develop cross-platform original content but will further expand Buzz 16’s offering by partnering with r4e and its management team to diversify into new marketing-focused verticals. CEO of r4e Marc Boyan will join Gary & Scott as Directors of the Buzz 16 and will take an active role in building out combined capabilities.

Commenting on the acquisition, Marc Boyan, CEO of R4E, said, “We are delighted to be working with Gary, Scott and the team as Buzz 16 embarks on its next phase of growth. Our investment in Buzz 16 was the culmination of a competitive process and is testament to the fact that our vision for the Group has broad appeal. This exciting partnership brings with it a number of important synergies. While it will provide r4e with exposure to the sports media sector, we see a great opportunity to help Buzz 16 develop a marketing services offering and provide leading brands with powerful strategies to meaningfully engage with their audiences across sponsorship, talent partnerships, experiential and sports marketing. We believe Buzz 16 will be a valuable addition to the r4e family.”

Gary Neville, who is co-owner of Buzz 16, added, “We are proud to produce engaging content of the highest quality, so welcoming r4e’s marketing communications expertise and network is the next natural stage to strengthen our proposition and ultimately broaden our offering to a wider audience. We started Buzz 16 to give people the chance to engage with sports and live entertainment in a different way so this partnership means we can do more of that. Having spent a lot of time with Marc, I am excited by his plans for the Group as well as his forward thinking approach to providing a differentiated and value enhancing service to clients.”

UK, London

Next 15 acquires Planning-inc for up to £15M

Next15Next Fifteen Communications Group plc, a digital communications group, has acquired Planning-Inc Limited, a predictive analytics and data marketing business.

Planning-inc is a UK-based marketing, data and technology agency. Following the Acquisition Planning-inc will continue to operate as an independent brand as part of the Next 15 Network.

The initial consideration for the acquisition is approximately £6.3 million, made up of £5.4 million in cash and the issue of 187,943 new ordinary shares in Next 15. Further deferred payments may be payable around April 2019 with a top-up payment based on the EBITDA performance of Planning-inc for the year ended 31 December 2018, and around April 2021 and April 2023 based on the EBIT performance of Planning-inc in the 2-year periods ending 31 January 2021 and 31 January 2023 respectively. The maximum total consideration is expected to be £15 million.

For the year ended 31 December 2017, Planning-inc reported EBIT and profit before tax of £1.3 million, and gross assets of £2.7 million.

The senior management team will continue to lead the business which includes clients such as Argos, M&S, Halfords and Sony.

Tim Dyson, CEO of Next 15 commented: “Next 15 believes marketing is a technology and data-driven activity. As a result we are committed to investing in these areas alongside the creative aspects of marketing. Planning-inc’s focus on using data science and analytics to inform and design great marketing programmes fits beautifully with our strategy. We are excited to have them as a part of the group and believe they will work with a number of the agencies in the group”.

UK, London

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RTL Netherlands acquires media company BrandDeli

RTL NetherlandsRTL Netherlands is to acquire BrandDeli, the sales house for the Discovery, Fox and Viacom brand portfolio for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition is the result of RTL Netherlands, Discovery Benelux, Fox Networks Group Benelux and Viacom International Media Networks entering into a strategic sales partnership as of 1 January 2019.

RTL will be granted the right to sell advertising space for at least three years for the Discovery, Fox and Viacom brand portfolio, offering a wider range of spot time, branded partnerships and online (video and display) advertising space.

Advertisers will have access to a larger overall reach, especially in younger target groups in both daytime and prime time slots. Discovery, Fox and Viacom also keep the opportunity to sell their own airtime.

Ton Rozestraten, CCO RTL Netherlands, said, “In five years, BrandDeli has grown into a successful company that we look at with admiration. Cooperation enables us to market an even wider and more varied range of products with the beautiful brands that BrandDeli represents. It fits in with our growth strategy to strengthen our position as a local player within the globalising playing field. Like no other, we are able to reach the masses with high-quality programmes and digital propositions. By combining this strength with BrandDeli’s rich cross-media offering (apps, social media, linear TV and websites), we offer advertisers access to an even more varied and growing fan base.”

Netherlands, Hilversum & Amsterdam

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Centaur Media Plc to divest digital platform, events & financial services divisions

centaur-logoFollowing a strategic review, Centaur, the international provider of market intelligence and specialist consultancy, is accelerating the simplification of the Group’s structure to improve operational execution and to focus attention on the leading brands within its marketing division.

Centaur is looking at the potential sale of The Lawyer, which operates a digital platform to provide intelligence and analysis to the global legal market; of its events division, including the Business Travel Show, The Meetings Show, Sub Con and Employee Benefits, and of its financial services division, which includes Money Marketing, Mortgage Strategy, Platforum, Taxbriefs and Headline Money.

Andria Vidler, Centaur Chief Executive, said, “Centaur has made substantial progress this year and these appointments will help us to deliver on our strategy to create a more focused business with good opportunities to grow its revenues and margins. We will work with our advisers to explore divestment possibilities and ensure that shareholder value is maximised.”

UK, London

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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