Gfinity plc acquires RealSM Limited, owner of RealSport

GFinityGfinity plc, a leading international esports entertainment group, has acquired the entire issued share capital of RealSM Limited, owner of the fan-oriented digital sports media platform, RealSport, for a total consideration for approximately £2.4 million, to be settled wholly in new shares in Gfinity. The acquisition will be paid for by issuing 12.3 million Gfinity shares at 19.317 pence each. The share price was the average closing price over the last 15 days prior to the deal being announced.

Founded in January 2016, RealSport’s platform features original content, including news documentaries, podcasts, analysis and opinions. The company has rapidly built an online user base of more than half a million active monthly users with esports currently accounting for over 40% of all traffic on its website. Gfinity will use the RealSport platform alongside its own to build the esports community.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Gfinity will integrate RealSport’s online real estate into its business operations. Gfinity will also acquire the services of the team of seven key employees including the co-founders, Roei Samuel and Scott Hurst, together with their network of contributors, who have driven the rapid growth in the RealSport digital platform.

Gfinity Chief Executive Officer Neville Upton said, ”RealSport has done a great job of building a “go-to” hub for the esports community. They have a very talented team whose expertise in building a digital community will be very valuable to Gfinity. This deal will further help Gfinity continue to drive awareness and engagement in Gfinity and Elite Series brands. We believe this will accelerate Gfinity’s plans to monetise our digital assets and will greatly increase the value of our proposition to our prospective commercial partners.”

UK, London

Park Group and Studio Squared merge to form Tilt Creative + Production

Tilt CPFilm and video production firm Park Group and the content specialists from Studio Squared have merged as Tilt Creative + Production, a fully integrated creative and production firm formed to assist national and local clients with creation of traditional and digital video content.

Park GroupUnder the terms of the merger, Park Group founder Dave Trownsell and partner Stacy Murphy will hold a minority share of TiltCP, which is majority owned by former S2 president Ron Carey. Carey will serve as CEO of the combined entity, which employs just under 40 people.Studio Squared

“Combining as one allows us to concept a creative idea, produce that idea, edit that idea and pull it off through the efficiencies we gain by keeping the entire process in-house,” says Carey, who served as a senior vice president at The Martin Agency before joining S2 in 2014. “Content is proliferating across a number of traditional and digital channels and screen sizes, so we have built TiltCP to deliver a high volume of quality, creative content that remains reflective of every client’s brand.”

The Park and S2 merger comes as content demands for global brands are shifting away from traditional channels and moving onto a variety of digital platforms, streaming services, social media sites, and mobile devices. With the newfound demand comes the need for a high volume of creative production that must be met with speed and efficiency while still maintaining quality and ensuring that the client’s brand is accurately presented in the final product.

“As we have for over thirty years, our team will continue offering full-service production for television, film, and traditional advertising and marketing needs,” Trownsell says. “As we looked to the future of our industry, we recognized that we must also evolve and combine creative, strategy, production and post-production under one roof to offer clients a leaner and more responsive model to meet their needs.”

Founded in 1986, Park Group has become one of the largest media production groups in Virginia, offering national clients turnkey production and post-production services. S2 was formed by The Martin Agency in 2008 to produce digital point-of-sale, in-store advertising for major retailers and other businesses. The company was taken private this year by Carey, and several previous S2 employees have joined TiltCP. Clients include Walmart, Audi, Capital One, Ferguson Enterprises, and others.

USA, Richmond, VA

Newsquest to acquire regional media company CN Group

NewsquestNewsquest Media Group Ltd. is to acquire Cumbrian-based media company CN Group in a deal which is part of a larger, scaled operation by the board to better protect the long term future of the group, its staff and its pensioners. The business sold two of its local radio stations to Global Radio in the autumn. The terms of this transaction were not disclosed, but it is expected to complete shortly after shareholders meet on 9th March.

CN Group runs print, digital and event brands covering Cumbria, Northumberland, north Lancashire, and the Scottish Borders including several award-winning papers such as the News & Star, Cumberland News, Times & Star, The Whitehaven News, The Mail and Hexham Courant.

It also has a magazine division that includes Cumbria Life, Taste Cumbria, Bay Living, in-Cumbria, Dumfries and Galloway Life, runs the Choose Cumbria marketing campaign, and events arm CN Events and a print division. It employs 324 people.

Henry Faure Walker, Newsquest chief executive, said: “We look forward to the opportunity of working with the CN Group, its staff and the community it represents in building on their great local brands and publishing expertise, and helping them forge a strong future. We will endeavour to support them with the scale and resources that Newsquest can provide, whilst enabling them to carry on what they have done so well for many years – namely providing first class content and advertising solutions for the people and businesses of Cumbria and the wider region.”

UK, Weybridge & Carlisle

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Will Packer Media acquires women’s lifestyle site xoNecole

Will PackerWill Packer Media has acquired xoNecole, a lifestyle site created by, and for, urban millennial women. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded by blogger Necole Kane, xoNecole’s mission is to promote positive images of women of colour, as well as empower, educate and inspire millennials through interviews, beauty, fashion, lifestyle, career and travel features. Kane’s initial gossip site,, launched in 2008. The site rebranded in 2015 to focus on universal themes important to young women.

The deal expands WPM’s media footprint with xoNecole becoming the company’s first owned and operated digital platform and complementing its existing strength in TV, digital and branded content production. WPM will implement an accelerated growth strategy for the cross-platform brand, expanding its video, social and mobile offerings, and building a branded newsletter and multi-faceted event series to further connect with its audience.

Will Packer, CEO and founder of Will Packer Media, said, “Necole is amazingly gifted in her ability to connect with women and deliver much needed engaging, smart and empowering content that is aspirational and impactful.”

USA, Los Angeles, CA, New York, NY & Atlanta, GA

Aurelius acquires Connect Group’s Books division for £11.6M

Aurelius EquityAurelius Equity Opportunities the pan-European mid-market investor, has bought Connect Books from the specialist distribution company Connect Group Plc for £11.6 million. The sum includes an expected deferred consideration of £1.05 million.

Connect Books is a multi-channel wholesaler, distributor and retailer of printed and digital books, with operations in UK, the Netherlands, and France. The business has projected revenues of approximately EUR 250 million for 2017. The transaction is subject to the approval of the competition authorities and is expected to close in January 2018.

Connect Books is comprised of the six distinct brands Bertram Books, Wordery, Dawson Books, Erasmus and Houtschild, and Bertram Library Services. On completion, Connect Books will be rebranded back to Bertram Group.

Dirk Markus, CEO of Aurelius, commented: “We are very pleased to announce our acquisition of Connect Books, an established, global business and one of the market leaders in its sector. This acquisition is a further demonstration of AURELIUS’ position as a preferred partner for corporates seeking a complex carve-out of a non-core business”.

Germany, Munich & UK, London

Hill + Knowlton Strategies acquires digital content creator Group SJR

sjr_infoWPP‘s wholly owned operating company, Hill + Knowlton Strategies has acquired SJR Group LLC. Group SJR develops and creates digital content enabling marketers to build brands and cultivate audiences. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Group SJR was founded in 2004 and is based in New York with an office in Los Angeles. Group SJR’s unaudited revenues for the year ended 31 May 2013 were $13.6 million. Clients include the Motion Picture Association of America, TED, GE, Xerox and Dell. The company employs 50 people.

UK, London & USA, New York, NY

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