GroupM to acquire majority stake in The Glitch in India

The GlitchWPP’s wholly-owned global media investment group, GroupM, is to acquire a majority stake in The Glitch, a digitally-led creative agency. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

The Glitch was founded in 2009 and employs around 200 people in Mumbai and Delhi. The Glitch’s full-service capabilities include digital, video and content strategy, interactive design technology, ecommerce, branding and media planning. Clients include Unilever, Netflix, OYO Rooms, Shutterstock, Tinder and others in the entertainment, beauty and FMCG sectors.

The Glitch’s revenues for the year ending 31 March 2017 were around INR 214 million with gross assets of around INR 175 million as at the same date.

The WPP group has invested in other digital content companies like All Def Digital, Fullscreen, Gimlet, Indigenous Media, Imagina (a content rights and media company based in Spain), MRC, Mic, Mitú, Refinery29, Uproxx Media Group and VICE. WPP’s roster of wholly owned digital agencies include AKQA, Blue State Digital, Essence, F.biz, Mirum, POSSIBLE, Triad Retail Media, VML and Wunderman.

UK, London & India, Mumbai & Delhi

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GroupM to acquire majority stake in The Glitch in India

GroupMWPP‘s wholly-owned global media investment group, GroupM, is to acquire a majority stake in The Glitch, a digitally-led creative agency. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The Glitch was founded in 2009 and employs around 200 people in Mumbai and Delhi. The Glitch’s full-service capabilities include digital, video and content strategy, interactive design technology, ecommerce, branding and media planning. Clients include Unilever, Netflix, OYO Rooms, Shutterstock, Tinder and others in the entertainment, beauty and FMCG sectors.

The Glitch’s revenues for the year ending 31 March 2017 were around INR 214 million with gross assets of around INR 175 million as at the same date.

C.V.L. Srinivas, country manager for WPP India and chief executive GroupM South Asia, said, “The communications ecosystem in India has evolved dramatically in the last few years and GroupM continues to lead the market in creating cutting-edge solutions that leverage data, technology and creativity. With The Glitch, we found a partner that brings exciting creative and content skills that can leverage our unique assets to create effective solutions for our clients.”

USA, New York, NY & India, Mumbai & Delhi

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Trinity Mirror plc to acquire Northern & Shell’s publishing assets

Trinity MirrorTrinity Mirror is to acquire Northern & Shell‘s publishing assets for a total purchase price of £126.7 million. These comprise Northern & Shell Network Limited, a subsidiary of Northern & Shell Media Group Limited containing the publishing assets of Northern & Shell and its subsidiaries, International Distribution 2018 Limited and a 50% equity interest in Independent Star Limited.

The purchase consideration of £126.7 million will be satisfied by the payment to the Northern & Shell Media Group Limited of, in aggregate, an initial cash consideration of £47.7 million; deferred cash consideration of £59.0 million payable over 2020 – 2023; and the balance of £20.0 million by the issue to the Seller of 25,826,746 new ordinary shares of 10p each. Trinity Mirror will also make a one-off cash payment of £41.2 million to the Northern & Shell Pension Schemes and a recovery plan through to 2027 has been agreed with total payments of £29.2 million.

Northern & Shell’s publishing assets include a portfolio of newspapers and magazines which comprise four national newspaper titles (the Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday) and three celebrity magazines (OK!, New!, and Star) together with a 50% joint venture interest in the Irish Daily Star, outside the UK. Northern & Shell operates a print plant in Luton, serving its portfolio of newspapers and magazines as well as providing third-party printing services.

The Express.co.uk and Dailystar.co.uk websites achieved 280 million page views in December 2017 compared to 649 million for the Trinity Mirror websites (excluding apps and galleries).

Northern & Shell’s publishing assets performed well in 2017 despite continued pressure on its print advertising revenues. Total revenues (after separation adjustments) are estimated to have marginally increased in 2017, with growth in newspaper circulation revenues (arising from the partial reversal of cover price discounting) and digital revenues offsetting declines in print advertising revenues. Adjusted EBITDA (after separation adjustments) is estimated to be circa. £34 million, benefiting from operational and strategic reductions in printing and production, marketing and other operating costs.

Simon Fox, chief executive of Trinity Mirror, said: “This deal is a really exciting moment in Trinity Mirror’s history, combining some of the most iconic titles in the UK media industry. It is good for our readers, good for our customers and good for our shareholders. Northern and Shell’s titles have a large and loyal readership, a growing digital presence and a stable revenue mix and offer an excellent fit with Trinity Mirror.”

UK, London

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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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Meredith Corporation completes acquisition of Time Inc.

MeredithMeredith Corporation has completed its acquisition of Time Inc., with February 2018 the first day of operations for the combined company. Time Inc. shareholders received $18.50 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $2.8 billion originally announced on 26 November 2017. Meredith also announced fiscal 2018 second quarter and first half results.

Meredith Corporation Chairman and CEO Stephen M. Lacy said, “With this acquisition, we are creating a premier media and marketing company serving 200 million American consumers that’s positioned for growth across industry-leading digital, television, print, video, mobile, and social platforms. The combined portfolio joins the rich content-creation capabilities of many of the media industry’s strongest national brands with a powerful local television business that is generating record earnings.”

USA, New York, NY & Des Moines, Iowa

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Hawke Media acquires Execute.LA

Hawke MediaThe digital marketing agency Hawke Media has acquired Execute.LA, a growth marketing shop that specializes in funnel optimization and growth hacking for early stage consumer products and startups. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Execute.LA was co-founded by Hank Leber and Wesley Clock and has employees located in the US and in Europe. Notable Execute.LA clients coming to Hawke Media include Bruno Mars’s SelvaRey Rum, and DrumChannel, the learning platform created by DW Drums Founder, Don Lombardi.

Erik Huberman, Founder & CEO of Hawke Media, said,”Execute.LA has done some incredible work for a number of really impressive brands and we are excited to be bringing both the team and their clients into the Hawke Media family”.

USA, Santa Monica & Venice, CA

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

XLMedia acquires websites from Good Game Ltd for €15M

XLMediaXLMedia, a provider of digital performance marketing, has agreed to acquire a number of leading Finnish gambling-related informational websites from Good Game Ltd for a total cash consideration of up to €15 million. The acquisition is expected to complete during the first quarter of 2018 and to be immediately earnings enhancing in the current financial year following completion.

The marketing services company said the acquired websites recorded €1.7 million revenue and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation margin of “at least” 75% in the year ended November 2017, implying Ebitda of around €1.3 million.

The deal involves an initial consideration of €7.0 million payable with milestones related to the transfer of assets which is expected to take place over three months. A further €7.0 million will be payable contingent on “significant growth in performance” of the acquisition over the subsequent six months.

XLMedia will also pay a share of revenues from the acquisition over the three months transition period. This is expected to amount to around €500,000 but is capped at €1.0 million.

The acquisition comprises a leading network of gambling-related websites focused on web and mobile traffic, specialising in casino games. Active since 2009, the websites provide visitors with useful information such as reviews of online casino websites, comparison of promotions offered by different brands and information on payment solutions. Traffic to and followers of the websites has steadily grown since inception and they now refer a significant number of players to their customers’ websites.

Chief Executive Officer of XLMedia, Ory Weihs, commented: “As we develop our business, we continue to capitalise on the infrastructure we have built, and take opportunities to expand further through acquisitions. With our current network, technology and sector expertise, the additional assets will be integrated easily into our operation, adding to our strong base of assets and recurring revenues. We are seeing good opportunities to buy additional assets in our key verticals, and we plan to continue acquiring domains and websites as part of our ongoing growth strategy.”

UK, Jersey, St. Helier & Malta, Gżira

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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

WPP acquires creative agency BAR in Portugal

wppWPP has acquired Bomtempo, Anahory & Ralha – Serviços Criativos, S.A. (“BAR”), an independent creative agency in Portugal. BAR will merge operations with Ogilvy & Mather Portugal, with the combined business trading as BAR Ogilvy. It will be managed by the founders of BAR: Jose Bomtempo, Diogo Anahory and Miguel Ralha.

Founded in Lisbon in 2009, BAR is an integrated agency with a strong creative reputation. Clients include Sagres, Millennium BCP, CUF, Nowo, TAP and Nespresso.

BAR’s consolidated unaudited revenues for the year ended 31 December 2016 were €2.5 million, with gross assets of €2.4 million as at the same date.

UK, London & Portugal, Lisbon

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