YouGov acquires Galaxy Research in Australia

YouGovYouGov plc, the market research and data analytics group, has acquired Galaxy Research Pty Ltd, a market research agency in Australia. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Galaxy, based in Sydney, has a market research offering comparable to YouGov’s Data Services offering. The agency known in the Australian market for opinion polling and as the administrator of the local political opinion polling brand, Newspoll.

YouGov’s existing Australian business, established two years ago, operates in keeping with YouGov’s core model of using data collected from its proprietary panel of members to provide syndicated data products and services. The combined business will be in a position to expand its data products and services offering.

GalaxyDavid Briggs, the founder and Managing Director of Galaxy, will lead the combined business and team of 11 employees in Australia, which will initially operate under the brand YouGov Galaxy.

Stephan Shakespeare, CEO of YouGov, commented: “With its reputation for accuracy and an excellent roster of corporate market research clients, Galaxy was an obvious fit for the YouGov Group. This acquisition increases our presence in Australia which is a significant market and one which is strategically important to our international clients.”

UK, London & Australia, Sydney

CBS Corporation acquires Network Ten in Australia

CBSCBS Corporation has acquired Network Ten, one of three major commercial broadcast networks in Australia. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

This transaction adds Network Ten to CBS Corporation’s global content and distribution portfolios. In addition to core linear channel TEN, the deal includes digital terrestrial television (DTT) channel ELEVEN, which CBS already had a stake in, as well as the DTT channel ONE and Network Ten’s rapidly growing digital platform, TENPLAY.

“The closing of this acquisition marks the beginning of an exciting opportunity to build and expand on our close working relationship and the great legacy of Network Ten in Australia, and to paving the way for further multiplatform distribution opportunities for CBS content,” said Leslie Moonves, Chairman and CEO, CBS Corporation. “I believe our ownership helps ensure that Network Ten’s business will grow long-term, while also benefiting the Australian Media sector as a whole. We look forward to welcoming Ten and its employees to the CBS family.”

USA, New York & The Netherlands, Amsterdam & Australia, Sydney

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Time Out Group acquires its Time Out Australia Licensing Partner

Time Out Group plc has acquired Print and Digital Publishing Pty Limited, the Group’s Australian licensing partner. The partner runs Time Out in five cities in Australia.

Launched in 2007, Time Out Australia has established a digital portfolio across online, mobile and social channels as well as highly-curated monthly magazines in Sydney and Melbourne.

The acquisition follows the addition of Time Out Hong Kong in March 2017 to the Group’s network of owned and operated businesses which now comprises 71 cities in 17 countries.

Julio Bruno, CEO of Time Out Group plc, said: “With the acquisition of Time Out Australia, we continue the global expansion of our iconic brand and our evolution as a worldwide digital, transactional business. I am delighted to welcome a very successful and trusted licensing partner and its team to our network of owned and operated businesses.

Time Out is hugely popular amongst both locals and visitors to Australia and has built considerable brand awareness. We are all looking forward to continuing to grow the brand and help this engaged audience to discover, book and share the very best of Australia’s cities with our unique, curated content and local expertise.”

UK, London & Australia, Glebe, NSW

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Zoopla acquires Hometrack for £12M


zooplapropertyZoopla Property Group Plc is to acquire Hometrack.co.uk Limited, the UK provider of residential property market insights and analytics, for £120 million.

Established in 1999, Hometrack provides residential property market insights, analytics, valuations and data services to around 400 mortgage lenders, new home developers, investors, housing associations and local authorities. 

The total consideration is £120 million on a cash-free, debt-free basis with £108 million due on completion and £6 million payable on each of the first and second anniversary following completion. Hometrack has a CAGR of c.15% from FhometrackY13-FY16 and generated revenues of £15.5 million and adjusted EBITDA of £7.1 million in the year to 30 June 2016. The consideration represents a 14.7x multiple based on LTM to Dec-16 adjusted EBITDA for Hometrack. The value of Hometrack’s gross assets was £13.1 million as at 30 June 2016.

The acquisition will be financed through a combination of existing cash resources, a new £75 million term loan and an equity placing of up to 5% of Zoopla’s ordinary issued share capital.

Alex Chesterman, Founder & CEO of Zoopla commented, “We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Hometrack, the clear market leader in AVM services in the UK and a leading player in Australia. The deal will allow us to serve our consumers and partners even more effectively and gives us unrivalled data capabilities in the residential property market. Hometrack is a perfect fit to develop our data services business and I look forward to welcoming Charlie and his team to the ZPG (Zoopla) family.”

Hometrack provides its products to 15 of the top 20 mortgage lenders in the UK as well as all 4 leading Aushometracktralian mortgage lenders and its UK automated valuation model is recognised by all the major ratings agencies. Over 70% of Hometrack’s revenues are subscription-based and underpinned by long-term relationships.

Hometrack has 55 staff operating out of offices in London and Sydney. Following completion, Hometrack will continue to operate as a standalone brand and platform with the team forming the cornerstone of Zoopla’s data services business, which will be headed up by Charlie Bryant, CEO of Hometrack.

UK, London

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Salmon acquires e-commerce digital consultancy Eperium in the Netherlands

WPP’s e-commerce consultancy, Salmon, has acquired Netherlands-based Eperium, a digital and e-commerce consultancy.

Eperium is headquartered in Amsterdam and employs over 200 people in Europe and India. Clients include Sligro, Plus Supermarkten, Jumbo, Bunzl, Xerox, Dutch Railways and Asian Paints. The agency’s consolidated unaudited revenues for the year ended 31 December 2015 were €8.5 million with gross assets of €4.1 million as at the same date.

The acquisition gives Salmon, which has a presence in the UK, US, China and Australia, access to the northern European and Indian markets where Eperium has an operation. Following the transaction, the Salmon group will employ over 700 people.

UK, London & The Netherlands, Amsterdam

Hansen acquires PPL Solutions

Hansen Technologies Limited has acquired PPL Solutions, LLC from NYSE listed PPL Corporation). The purchase price is expected to represent approximately 4 times Solutions’ EBITDA, and will be funded from Hansen’s internal cash resources.

Headquartered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, PPL Solutions provides billing, business processing outsourcing (“BPO”), call centre and information technology services to competitive electric and gas suppliers and regulated utilities in the US. The business has 230 staff, with the majority of these located at PPL Solutions’ call centre facility in Hazelton, Pennsylvania.

PPL Solutions is a strategically attractive business that is strongly aligned with Hansen’s key acquisition criteria: it sits within Hansen’s core billing & customer care business; owns the intellectual property in its billing software; has recurring revenue streams; and extends Hansen’s footprint into a new market segment in the US. The PPL Solutions business adds business process outsourcing, customer care and Software-as-a-Service to Hansen’s portfolio of Electricity, Gas and Water products.

PPL Solutions is expected to represent approximately 7% of the combined Hansen worldwide EBITDA. Given the BPO nature of the Solutions business and the services provided, the business operates on margins below  those historically achieved by Hansen.

Australia, Victoria & USA, Bethlehem, PA

WPP to merge its Australian and New Zealand businesses with STW Communications Group

STWWPP is to merge its Australian and New Zealand businesses with STW Communications Group in Australia and New Zealand and increase its shareholding to 61.5%

WPP is to merge its Australian and New Zealand businesses with STW Communications Group Limited (STW) and increase its shareholding from 23.6% to 61.5%. STW, a marketing and communications group, is a publicly listed company, whose shares are traded on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX: SGN).  

The merged group will have pro-forma LTM revenues of c.A$1billion and EBIT of A$142 million For the 12 months ended 30 September 2015 and will become the primary vehicle for WPP in Australia and New Zealand.  Following the merger, STW will change its name to align it with WPP.

The transaction will be structured through a contribution of WPP’s Australian and New Zealand businesses into STW, for an enterprise value of A$512 million, with consideration consisting of the issue to WPP of new STW shares and a shareholder loan. 

The STW Shares will be issued to WPP at A$0.915 per share, representing a premium of 30% to the 10 day VWAP prior to the date of this announcement. WPP will move from a 23.6% interest in STW to become the majority shareholder with a 61.5% equity interest. WPP will also have the right to appoint a majority of Directors to the STW Board. 

The transaction is conditional on STW shareholder approval and the approval of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Foreign Investment Review Board.

UK, London & Australia, St Leonards, NSW & New Zealand, Auckland

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