Bauer Media buys Beautyheaven Group

bauer mediaBauer Media has acquired the Beautyheaven Group which comprises of Beautydirectory, BeautyHeaven and the recently launched Homeheaven. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

David Goodchild, CEO of Bauer Media Australia and NZ, said: “The acquisition of this market leading online business supports our strategy to be the No. 1 digital destination for Australian women. With Bauer Media already No.1 in print we see many opportunities to leverage our existing assets, experience and resources to add considerable value and scale to these growing digital businesses. The beautydirectory, beautyheaven and homeheaven teams have created highly impressive products and I look forward to working with them to take the business even further.

beauty heavenThe Beautyheaven Group’s web, mobile and social media platforms host product information, industry news, reviews, expert tips and advice, shopping directories, advertising and sampling opportunities.

The Beautyheaven Group will continue to operate as is, with founder Jackie Maxted reporting directly to Goodchild.

The beautyheaven Group was founded by former Public Relations agency owner Jackie Maxted in 1999.

Australia, Sydney

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JWT New Zealand acquires Heyday, a New Zealand digital agency  

wppWPP company JWT New Zealand has acquired a majority stake in Heyday, an independent digital agency based in Wellington, New Zealand.

Founded in 2000, Heyday is one of New Zealand’s most comprehensive and respected digital agencies. The company’s services include digital strategy, visual design, user experience design, content development, digital film, smartphone applications and web application development. Key clients include ANZ Bank; Trade Me, New Zealand’s largest Internet-auction website; and Z Energy.

For the year ending 31 March 2014, Heyday’s revenues were NZD 4.0 million, with gross assets of NZD 1.7 million, as at the same date. The company employs 35 people.

UK, London & New Zealand, Wellington

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6 new WPP acquisitions

wpp1. Kantar acquires majority stake in data visualisation and interactive specialist Guardian Digital Agency, in the UK

WPP’s wholly-owned data investment management arm, Kantar, has acquired the Guardian Digital Agency (“GDA”), a specialist data visualisation, site design and interactive development agency, previously part of Guardian News and Media Group. The company, which employs 13 people, will be rebranded under the new name Graphic. Many of Kantar’s 12 companies have already worked with GDA.

UK, London

 2. Grey to acquire a majority stake in Circus, Peru’s largest independent advertising agency

WPP’s wholly-owned operating company Grey, is to acquire a majority stake in Circus Peru S.A., the largest independent adverting agency in Peru.

Founded in 2008, Circus is a full-service integrated marketing company. Its subsidiaries include Circus Interactive, Circus Retail, Circus Experience, Brand Lab, a design company, and Carne, a second advertising agency. Circus will be integrated into the existing Grey Peru and be renamed Circus Grey.

Circus’ unaudited revenues were PEN 34 million as of December 31, 2013 with net assets of PEN 9.0 million as of the same date. Clients include Grupo Credito, Grupo Falabella, Claro and San Fernando. Based in Lima, the agency employs nearly 200 people.

Other WPP companies active in Peru (including affiliates) are Young & Rubicam, Ogilvy & Mather, J. Walter Thompson, GroupM, Burson-Marsteller, IBOPE, Kantar Worldpanel, TNS and Geometry Global.

UK, London & Peru, Lima

3. Millward Brown acquires global brand strategy company EffectiveBrands

WPP’s wholly-owned operating company Millward Brown, has acquired EffectiveBrands Holding B.V., a marketing strategy consulting firms.

Founded in 2001 by Marc de Swaan Arons and Frank van den Driest, the company’s unaudited revenues for the year ended 31 March 2014 were approximately EUR 14.1 million with gross assets at the same date of approximately EUR 6.5 million. Clients include Pernod Ricard, Virgin, Barclays, Unilever and PepsiCo. EffectiveBrands is headquartered in Amsterdam with offices in London, New York, Singapore and Tokyo and employs about 65 people.

Millward Brown will combine EffectiveBrands with Millward Brown Optimor, its strategy consulting unit, to form Millward Brown Vermeer. Millward Brown

UK, London & The Netherlands, Amsterdam

4. WT acquires majority stake in creative agency The Hardy Boys in South Africa

WPP’s wholly-owned operating company JWT, has acquired a majority stake in The Hardy Boys, a leading creative agency in South Africa.

Founded in 1994 in Durban, The Hardy Boys is a multi-disciplinary, brand building agency, with fully integrated activation capabilities. Clients include Unilever, Diageo, SA Home Loans, ADvTECH and RCL Foods amongst others.

The Hardy Boys’ revenues for the year ended 28 February 2014 were approximately ZAR 55 million, with gross assets at the same date of approximately ZAR 32.2 million.

UK, London & South Africa, Durban

5. Kantar Media acquires media intelligence business Precise

WPP’s wholly-owned media research and analytics business Kantar Media, has acquired a majority stake in the issued share capital of Precise Media Group Holdings Limited, a provider of monitoring and evaluation services.

Founded in 1996 and based in London, with offices in New York, Precise employs 430 people servicing 2,500 customers including multinational corporations, PR agencies, public sector bodies and SME clients. For the year ending 30 September 2013, Precise’s revenues were £28.9 million, with gross assets as at the same date of £34.4 million.

UK, London & USA, New York, NY

6. XM Asia to acquire majority stake in Sofresh in Vietnam

WPP’s wholly owned operating company, XM Asia, a JWT company, is to acquire a majority stake in Sofresh, a leading digital creative agency in Vietnam.

Sofresh, co-founded in 2007 by Ly Viet Vu and Justin Cohen, develops digital strategy, digital creative ideas and marketing campaigns across multiple digital channels, including social media, mobile and the web. The company also designs and builds e-commerce platforms, customer relationship management systems and in-store digital installations.

Sofresh works with a range of local and global clients, including Diageo, GSK, Kinh Do, Techcombank and Unilever.

Sofresh had revenues of VND 35.7 billion for the year ending December 31, 2013, with gross assets of VND 30.1 billion, as at the same date. The company employs 85 people.

Sofresh marks WPP’s third acquisition in Vietnam in seven months. In Vietnam, WPP companies (including associates) generate revenues of about $80 million and employ approximately 1,000 people.

UK, London & Vietnam

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Tribal Group acquires Human Edge Software Corporation in Australia

tribalTribal Group, a provider of technology enabled management solutions to the international education, learning and training markets, has acquired Human Edge Software Corporation Pty Ltd, a provider of student management systems primarily to the Australian schools market.

Human Edge is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, with a software development centre based in Manila, Philippines. Human Edge systems support approximately 1,900 schools and education management organisations throughout Australia and South East Asia.

The Human Edge installed customer base is predominantly in non-state operated Catholic and private schools in New South Wales and Victoria. This is highly complementary to the New South Wales state school network across which Tribal’s software is currently being deployed through the New South Wales Student Administration and Learning Management (SALM) programme. Following completion of the SALM programme, Tribal expects to be providing student management systems to over 25% of schools across Australia.

The acquisition is expected to be earnings accretive in its first full year in the Tribal Group. Total consideration for the entire share capital of Human Edge on a debt-free/cash-free basis will be A$15.23 million, satisfied in cash.

The unaudited revenue and normalised operating profit of Human Edge for the year ended 30 June 2013 was A$7.3m and A$2.0m respectively and the value of gross assets at that date was A$13.0m.

Keith Evans, Chief Executive of Tribal, commented: “Our strategic focus is to deliver technology-based systems and solutions which support management teams across education institutions. Bringing together Human Edge with our work for the New South Wales SALM programme establishes Tribal as a leading provider of schools management solutions in Australia and enhances our existing global credentials in schools student management systems.”

UK, Bristol & Australia, Melbourne

APN News & Media – 2013 Full year results

APN News & Media Ltd (APN), in which Independent News & Media PLC has a 28.95% shareholding, has released its results for the twelve months ending 31 December 2013. Net profit after tax before exceptional items was $59.5m, up 10% on the prior corresponding period. EBITDA from continuing operations and before exceptional items was up 8% to $162.8m, with revenue from continuing operations down $5.8m to $817.2m.

APN Chief Executive Officer, Michael Miller said: “These are APN’s best results in a number of years with Net profit after tax and EBITDA growth at their highest level since 2007 and 2005 respectively. The results reflect strong earnings growth in our radio businesses as they increased market share, a record result at Adshel, an improved second half performance from our publishing businesses as cost saving benefits start to flow through and the impact of the sale of a number of non-core businesses.”

APN’s ongoing focus on cost reductions and generating cash, as well as the contribution from a number of small asset sales, resulted in $63m in net cash inflows during the period. This cash inflow was considerably ahead of the $40m to $50m target set at the beginning of the year. Overall net debt as at 31 December 2013 was $436.9m.

APN FINANCIAL RESULT 2013

12 months to 31 December (AUD million) 2013 2012**
Revenue from continuing operations 817.2 823.0
EBITDA* 162.8 151.4
EBIT* 129.8 120.7
Net profit after tax* 59.3 49.6
Profit/loss from discontinued operations 0.3 4.7
Net profit after tax before exceptional items 59.5 54.3
Exceptional items (56.9) (561.7)
Statutory net profit/(loss) after tax 2.6 (507.4)
*From continuing operations and before exceptional items    
**2012 exceptional items and statutory net loss restated for error in relation to impairment charge

The company is not paying a final dividend for the 2013 financial year.

APN has made progress in its efforts to streamline operations and position the Company for future growth. The sale of APN Outdoor to Quadrant Private Equity for $69m and the sale of e-commerce business brandsExclusive for $2m in cash and 8% of the equity in buyer Aussie Commerce Group were completed in January and February of this year. The sale of APN’s wholly-owned New Zealand magazine titles to Bauer Media Group has received clearance from the New Zealand Commerce Commission and is expected to complete in March. During the first half of 2013, the Company sold its Wellington, Christchurch and Oamaru newspapers in line with its focus on North Island publications. APN also moved to full ownership of performance marketing business iNC Digital Media in October.

APN also announced the acquisition of the remaining 50% of Australian Radio Network and The Radio Network from its US joint venture partner Clear Channel Communications Inc. This  gives APN greater control of cash flows, which will be used to strengthen the Company’s balance sheet.

The full announcement is available here.

Ireland Dublin & UK, London

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Global M&A Performance Roars Back in 2013

Acquirers around the world enjoyed their best performance this year since the financial crisis began in 2008, outperforming companies not involved in M&A activity by an average of 4.7%, according to Towers Watson’s Quarterly Deal Performance Monitor.

The study of completed M&A deals over $100 million, conducted in partnership with Cass Business School in London, shows that during 2013, North America acquirers outperformed those in other regions at 8.1% above the regional MSCI Index. This represented a significant turnaround from last year, when the region underperformed the index by 1.3%.

Acquiring companies in Asia Pacific outperformed the regional index by 3.5% (compared to a 0.1% underperformance in 2012), while performance in Europe came in at 2.2% above the regional index (compared to 2.4% in 2012).

“The big M&A story for 2013 is how well acquirers’ stock performed relative to that of non-acquirers across the three regions we track. And North America acquirers showed the most dramatic reversal, underperforming the index in 2012, then outperforming the index so strongly this year,” said Jim McKay, North America M&A practice leader at Towers Watson.

North America continues to lead the other regions in terms of the volume of deals completed, with 375 deals over $100 million so far in 2013. This accounts for nearly 60% of the global total. Asia Pacific has overtaken Europe as the second-most active M&A region, completing 141 deals to Europe’s 104. As a result, for the second year in a row, Europe had the lowest number of completed deals in 2013 and its lowest level since 2009.

The research also shows that in 2013, there were fewer megadeals (those over $10 billion) than in prior years. There were only four such deals in 2013, none of which occurred in the second half of the year. This marks the first time this has occurred for any six-month period in nearly three years.

The data also show that in 2013, slow deals (those taking over 70 days from announcement to completion) performed better than deals completed rapidly (7.0% versus 3.1%). In addition, domestic deals (where the acquirer and the target company are both based in the same country) outperformed cross-border deals by 5.2%.

“While many companies have cash to spend on acquisitions, and the economic outlook is improving for many countries, the research confirms that most companies are still taking a surprisingly restrained approach to M&A,” said McKay. “Such caution is understandable, but we do know from previous research that companies buying into a rising market tend to outperform their peers to a greater extent than those buying in a flat or declining market. So if the markets remain strong, those companies willing to be among the early movers in their industry are likely to see a clear advantage.”

USA, London and UK, London

WPP’s December acquisitions – Crystal Semantics, Vocanic, Social Lab, Fisheye Analytics, Richard Attias & Associates, ARMI, RC&M, ClickMedia and MASSCOM

wppWPP ends the year with nine acquisitions.

1) Mindshare to acquire MASSCOM media agency in Philippines: December 20, 2013

WPP’s wholly owned operating company, Mindshare, a global media agency network, is to acquire the business and assets of Media Arts System and Services Company, Inc. in the Philippines.

MASSCOM was established in 1986 as an independent media agency, serving Unilever exclusively in the Philippines. MASSCOM provides media planning, strategy and buying services to Unilever, the global fast-moving consumer goods company and a top advertiser in the Philippines.

2) GroupM to acquire majority stake in social media marketing agency, ClickMedia in Vietnam: December 19, 2013

WPP’s wholly owned operating company, GroupM, WPP’s global media investment management arm, is to acquire a majority stake in ClickMedia, a social media marketing agency in Vietnam.

Established in 2008, ClickMedia is a full service social media marketing firm which provides social media strategy, campaign strategy and implementation, as well as social media listening, crisis prevention and management.

Clients include Unilever, FrieslandCampina, Piaggio and Estee Lauder. ClickMedia’s unaudited revenues for the year ended 31 December 2012 were VND 23.7 billion with unaudited gross assets at the same date of VND 12.0 billion. The agency employs 55 people.

3) Grey to acquire majority stake in RC&M, a rural communications and marketing services provider in India: December 18, 2013

WPP’s wholly owned operating company, Grey, the advertising network of Grey Group, has agreed to acquire a majority stake in RC&M, one of India’s largest rural communications and marketing services providers.

RC&M is a pioneer in experiential marketing in India, delivering integrated activation solutions, encompassing creative designing to production & implementation. With a formidable reach across 400,000 Indian villages and 5,000 towns, the company is a leader in the organised rural/semi-urban activation market.

Founded in 1990, RC&M is headquartered in Delhi, with offices in Mumbai and Bengaluru.

RC&M’s unaudited revenues for the year ending 31 March 2013 were approximately INR 360 million. The company employs more than 320 people and services clients in the automotive, industrial automation, FMCG and durable sectors.

RC&M marks WPP’s 12th acquisition in India in the last nine years.

4) Millward Brown acquires majority stake in ARMI-Marketing in Russia and Ukraine: December 18, 2013

WPP’s wholly-owned operating company Millward Brown, a global leader in brand, media and communications research, is to acquire a majority stake in ARMI-Marketing in Russia.

Founded in 1992 and headquartered in Moscow, ARMI is a leading provider of market research services in Russia and Ukraine. Clients include leading multinational and local brands, including two-thirds of Russia’s top 15 advertisers.

ARMI’s consolidated unaudited revenues for the year ended 31 December 2012 were approximately RUB 735 million. The company employs around 200 people.

5) WPP takes stake in Richard Attias & Associates: December 17, 2013

WPP has taken a 30% stake in strategic consultants Richard Attias & Associates.

Under the active leadership of founder chairman Richard Attias, RAA has built a reputation for helping governments and corporations articulate their global objectives.

Events led by Attias include the World Economic Forum in Davos and other regions, the Clinton Global Initiative, launch of the Euro in 2000, the 2008 Arab Strategy Forum, the APEC CEO Summit in Hawaii, the 15th African Securities Exchange Association in Marrakech, Doha GOALS Forum, The Middle East Peace Summit in Jordan, the contract for the signature of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in Marrakech, the Monaco Media Forum and the Nobel Laureates Conference. In 2010, Richard Attias founded The New York Forum, an annual meeting to promote economic leadership and in 2012, The New York Forum AFRICA, a pan-African business and investment platform. In 2014, RAA will be producing 14 symposiums.

Commenting on the partnership, WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell said, “By building this partnership with global influencer Richard Attias , WPP confirms its strategy to support countries to brand their nations and corporations to have access to faster growing markets. Our ambition is to create together with Richard a world champion in the field of strategic communication, international conferences and global action oriented events.”

RAA is based in New York, with other offices in Paris, London, Rabat and Dubai. RAA employs 50 people and has revenues of around US$35 million.

Public sector clients of RAA have included the African Development Bank, Bahrain, Brazil, China, Dubai, France, Gabon, Jordan, Morocco, Qatar, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia, UAE, UK, United Nations and the US.

6) Kantar to acquire Fisheye Analytics, a media monitoring and analytics services business in Singapore : December 16, 2013

WPP’s wholly-owned data investment management business Kantar, is to acquire the entire issued share capital of Fisheye Analytics Pte. Ltd., a media monitoring and analytics services business based in Singapore.

Founded in 2009 in Singapore with an R&D centre in Hyderabad, Fisheye employs 14 people. The company, which will become part of Kantar Media, works with some of the biggest sports governing bodies, international organisations and governments from Europe to Asia.

For the year ending 31 October 2013, Fisheye’s unaudited revenues were SGD 782,871, with gross assets as at the same date of SGD 332,162.

7) Ogilvy & Mather to acquire majority stake in social marketing agency, Social Lab in Belgium : December 12, 2013

WPP’s wholly-owned marketing communications network, Ogilvy & Mather, has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Social Lab, a social marketing agency based in Belgium with offices in Paris and Amsterdam.

Founded in 2010 and employing 50 people, Social Lab specialises in social media marketing. Clients include IKEA, Club Med, Interbrew, L’Oréal, Galbani, Electrabel GDF Suez, Nespresso, Oasis, Delhaize and the National Lotery. Social Lab’s unaudited revenues for the year ended 31 December 2012 were EUR 3.1 million with gross assets as at the same date of EUR 0.4million.

8) GroupM to acquire majority stake in Vocanic, a social media marketing business in Asia : December 10, 2013

WPP’s wholly-owned operating company, GroupM, WPP’s global media investment management arm, is to acquire a majority stake in Vocanic Pte Ltd., a social media marketing business in Asia.

Based in Singapore with offices in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, Vocanic is a full service social media marketing firm. Established in 2005, Vocanic has 70 people providing social media strategy consulting, social technology, social media program and campaign management, community management and social media analytics.

For the year ending 31 December 2012, Vocanic’s revenues were SGD 4.3 million, with gross assets of SGD 2.1 million.

Vocanic’s client list includes blue chip business partners such as StarHub, Axis, EDB, SAP, Astro, Unilever, Dell, Symantec, Mead Johnson, Danone, WingTai Retail, MHD, and Standard Chartered Bank.

9) 24/7 Media acquires digital agency Crystal Semantics In the UK: December 9, 2013

WPP Digital’s marketing technology company 24/7 Media, has acquired the entire issued share capital of Crystal Semantics Limited. Crystal Semantics is a provider of semantic advertising solutions.

With its proprietary technology, Crystal Semantics accurately matches advertising to the meaning of a page of web content, greatly reducing the risk of inappropriate advertising placement. With the acquisition, the combined companies will provide distinct advantages to both advertiser and publisher clients through improved advertising relevance and enhanced brand protection. Founded in 2001 and based in London, Crystal Semantics is a major provider of online data services to advertising agencies, networks and exchanges.

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Future acquires APC and TechLife – from Bauer Media Group in Australia

futureplcFuture plc‘s Australian business has acquired two technology brands – APC and TechLife – from Bauer Media Group.

The acquisition involves the two brands, the subscription lists and all related magazines, digital editions and websites in Australia. The brands will join Future’s existing Australian Technology portfolio, including TechRadar.com.au and T3.com.

Mark Wood, Future’s Chief Executive, said:

“The acquisition of APC and TechLife is the next stage in Future’s strategy of building a global technology content business around TechRadar, our top digital brand, and T3.com. “We are delighted to bring these two high-quality technology titles into Future, adding to our strong positions in the UK and US markets, and we look forward to building on their success and their impressive audience reach to become Australia’s leading technology publisher.”

Australia, Sydney

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Bauer Media announces full ownership of OK! Magazine in Australia and New Zealand

bauer mediaBauer Media has acquired the remaining 50% of the weekly title, OK!, from its joint venture partner, Northern and Shell.

As well as buying out the second half of OK! Australia, Bauer Media will now own 100% of the OK! magazine brand in Australia and New Zealand.

Matthew Stanton, Bauer Media CEO, said, “This investment in OK!, in Australia and New Zealand, once again demonstrates our commitment to the market and the long-term viability of this popular global brand. OK! is a key brand in our publishing portfolio and we look forward to taking the title to the next level, with further investment in a number of publishing initiatives across multi-platforms.”

Paul Ashford, Group Editorial Director Northern and Shell, said, “We are happy to have concluded an agreement that will allow Bauer northern & shellMedia to take OK! magazine forward in Australia where they now have a strong local operation, and we thank everyone who has worked to create OK!’s amazing Australian success story as part of the worldwide OK! family (currently reaching over 23 million readers across the globe).”

OK! was launched in Australia by Northern and Shell in 2004 with 50% of the title acquired by Bauer Media in 2007. The magazine’s circulation has fallen from 140,000 in 2007 to 90,000 in December 2012.

Two years ago Northern & Shell sold the US edition of OK! to American Media. Northern & Shell continues to own the UK edition of OK!

UK, London & Australia, Sydney

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GfK acquires agricultural insights business Paterson Consulting

Market research firm GfK has acquired agricultural insights business Paterson Consulting. Paterson Consulting has established new offices in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, for its Animal and Crop Health team.

The expanded group will report to Ai Chen Kueh, Head of Animal and Crop Health for GfK in APAC, and will complement and support activities in Japan, China, India, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia. The Sydney office opened in early February 2013, with Melbourne following last week.

“With these moves, we are making a strong statement about GfK’s commitment to serving the needs of this blossoming industry in the APAC market,” said Kueh. “We are focused on providing turnkey solutions for manufacturers and other firms that need to take a global approach to marketing and insight generation. The expertise of Paterson Consulting complements our existing team with additional deep industry knowledge benefiting our Animal and Crop Health clients. In addition GfK’s new Australian offices will be hubs for our increasing activities and resources in the region as a whole.”

The new, Melbourne-based team includes Will Paterson, previously Managing Director of Paterson Consulting. Bob Sloane, who previously headed agricultural market research at another agency, will lead GfK’s business from Sydney. Both are now Directors of Animal and Crop Health (ACH) for GfK in APAC. In addition, Stephen Wentworth will serve as Senior Research Manager of ACH in the region. Collectively, Paterson, Sloane, and Wentworth bring over 55 years of experience in the field to GfK.

USA, New York, NY & Australia, Sydney

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