Huntsworth acquires media strategy company AboveNation

HuntsworthHuntsworth plc, the international healthcare and communications group, has acquired 75% of AboveNation Media from Steve Minichini and John Lee for an initial consideration of $1.75m.

AboveNation Media is a New York-based full-service media strategy, planning and buying agency. AboveNation Media will provide integrated advertising technology solutions across Huntsworth’s Evoke Group business. AboveNation Media will continue to be led by its CEO, Steve Minichini and its President, John Lee and will report to Reid Connolly, CEO of Evoke Group.

The agreement to acquire 75% of AboveNation Media provides for an initial consideration of $1.75m and two deferred payments due in 2019 and 2021, based on a multiple of the EBITDA for the preceding years.

In addition, the agreement provides for a put and call option over the remaining 25% of AboveNation Media exercisable by the sellers or the Group from 1 January 2023. The consideration payable will be based on average EBITDA for the two calendar years immediately preceding.

The initial consideration will be financed through the Group’s existing facilities. Both the deferred consideration and the put and call option consideration payable, may be satisfied either in cash and/or ordinary shares of the Company.

The maximum amount of total consideration payable is capped at $25m.

AboveNation Media generated revenues of c. $1.3m and EBITDA of c. $0.5m in the year to 31 December 2017 and the Group expects the acquisition to be accretive to the Group’s earnings in the current financial year. AboveNation Media’s gross assets were $4.2m as at 31 December 2017.

Mr Connolly said, “The convergence of media and technology has changed the way brands and companies connect with their customers. AboveNation Media is a perfect strategic fit within our group and strengthens our commitment to a culture of innovation and accountability. By integrating the emotional insights that fuel great creative with advanced media strategy and technology, we not only create a more nimble and agile offering but we’re able to create smarter, harder working creative. Collectively we offer our clients the ability to engage and build more valuable relationships and to do so in the most advanced, efficient and, most importantly, transparent way possible.”

UK, London & New York, NY

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Imagine Entertainment acquires Tony Hernandez’s Jax Media

ImagineImagine Entertainment has acquired Jax Media, the fast-growing production banner headed by Tony Hernandez. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

New York-based Jax Media has made a name for itself by producing auteur-driven comedy series and specials for modest budgets. Hernandez will continue to oversee day-to-day operations of the company. Jax is home to TBS’ “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” and “Search Party,” Comedy Central’s “Broad City” and “Inside Amy Schumer,” BET’s “The Rundown with Robin Thede,” TV Land’s “Younger” and ABC’s “Roseanne” revival, among other shows.

Imagine Entertainment principal Brian Grazer said, “Our company’s roots are in comedy, and I am excited to work with Tony and Jax Media to build upon what Ron (Howard) and I first started. Tony has a keen eye for talent and exceptional taste and execution”.

USA, Beverly Hills, CA & New York, NY

German Beta Cinema takes stake in UK sales company Cornerstone Films

Beta CinemaGerman production and distribution outfit Beta Cinema has acquired a minority stake in Alison Thompson and Mark Gooder’s London and LA-based international sales outfit Cornerstone Films. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The two companies will partner on commercially-driven English-language films, combining Beta’s production and distribution operations with Cornerstone’s sales activities – the aim is for the joint alliance to create a stronger foothold for both outfits across the global marketplace.

Recent deals struck between the two outfits include Cornerstone’s sales title Georgetown, directed by Christoph Waltz, which Beta will distribute in Germany. Beta also recently acquired a stake in renowned German film and TV production company X-Filme (Babylon Berlin), which has previously worked closely with Cornerstone.

X-Filme’s Uwe Schott and Beta’s Dirk Schuerhoff said: “We’re very excited to announce our partnership with Cornerstone Films, with whom we have collaborated successfully on various projects during the past years. The partnership is a strategic and creative fit that will allow us to continue to produce ambitious and daring international cinema.”

Germany, Munich, UK, London & USA, Los Angeles, CA

Nielsen Media Research to acquire Ebiquity’s AdIntel business for £26M

nielsenNielsen Media Research Limited is to acquire Ebiquity’s AdIntel business for £26 million.

The assets acquired have a total book value of £27.5 million. For the year ended 31 December 2017, the AdIntel business generated unaudited revenues of £21.9 million and operating profit of £4.4 million, before the allocation of central overheads

The Disposal is subject to approval from the Competition and Markets Authority. Completion is expected during the second quarter of 2018.

Michael Karg, CEO Ebiquity plc, commented: “This is a transformational moment for Ebiquity. Our Growth Acceleration Plan, which focusses on seizing market opportunities in our faster growing MVM and MPO segments, will be enhanced through our ability to invest in these services to seize and establish a leadership position. Nielsen is the logical home for our colleagues in MI (Market Intelligence) and we wish them every success for the future.”

USA, New York & UK, London & Bracknell

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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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Viacom acquires online conference VidCon

ViacomAmerican multinational media conglomerate Viacom has acquired VidCon, host of the world’s largest multi-day conference for the global online community.

With more than 30,000 attendees and 80-plus sponsors (including, for many years, Viacom), at its flagship Anaheim event, VidCon has become the largest multi-day conference of its kind and cemented itself as a leading event for the worldwide online video community. And while VidCon has already carried this momentum into events in Amsterdam and Melbourne, Viacom’s global network of platforms and properties give it the resources to further increase that reach both internationally and within the United States.

Jason Jordan, Viacom executive vice president of Multiplatform Strategy and Operations, said, “VidCon has become the foremost gathering place for the passionate online video community, and the access to talent, experts and education that VidCon provides for attendees is unparalleled. We’re excited to partner with the team to help achieve their vision and expand VidCon’s reach around the world while maintaining the grassroots energy and authenticity that makes the experience so unique and special to so many.”

USA, New York, NY & Missoula, MT

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Pokémon GO creator Niantic acquires AR startup Escher Reality

NianticThe company behind Pokémon GO, Niantic, has acquired augmented reality startup Escher Reality. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Escher Reality builds backend services for cross-platform mobile AR so users can interact with each other and objects in the environment. The startup offered functionality for shared experiences that was absent in both Google’s ARCore and Apple’s ARKit. The startup’s investors include Uncork Capital, Founders Fund, Y Combinator, Liquid 2 Ventures, Webb Investment Network, iRobot Ventures, Presence Capital, Into Ventures and others.

Niantic CEO John Hanke said, “The addition of the Escher AR technology is incredibly exciting to us at Niantic as it significantly accelerates our work on persistent, shared AR as part of the Niantic real-world application platform. It’s our intention to make our cross-platform AR technology available more widely to developers later this year.”

Niantic is releasing its next big AR title Harry Potter Wizards Unite this year.

USA, San Francisco & Sunnyvale, CA