Ascential acquires Flywheel Digital for $60M

Ascential plcGlobal specialist information and events company Ascential plc is to acquire Flywheel Digital, a leading US-based provider of managed services to consumer product companies trading on Amazon, for an initial cash consideration of $60 million plus earn out payments payable over three years.

Founded in 2014, Flywheel offers customers Amazon-specific software, tools and expertise to drive sales and brand performance across Amazon platforms by directly actioning solutions for clients. Flywheel’s proprietary platforms and processes optimise brands’ online operations, including merchandising, supply logistics and media management. Flywheel primarily serves large-scale US consumer product companies, with more than 70 customers and more than 90 staff based in Baltimore and Seattle.

The initial consideration of US$60m (subject to normal working capital adjustments) is being paid out of Ascential’s existing cash reserves using capital released from the sale of the Exhibitions business. Earn out consideration is payable in cash based on the revenue of the business for the next three years to 2021 and is expected to total between approximately US$47m and US$196m. A portion of the earn out is subject to the founders remaining in employment with the company. The total potential consideration, including both initial consideration and earn out payments, is capped at US$400m in the event that extremely stretching revenue levels are reached.

In the year ended December 2017, Flywheel grew its revenue by more than 150% and delivered unaudited profit before tax of $4.8m. It had gross assets of $23.9m at December 2017. The transaction is expected to be earnings accretive in Ascential’s current financial year.

Flywheel will report to Duncan Painter, CEO of Ascential. The business will be reported as part of Ascential’s Sales segment alongside the newly integrated Edge business (comprising One Click Retail, Clavis, Planet Retail RNG and Brand View) which offers a range of insight and advisory solutions to improve performance across Amazon and other eCommerce platforms.

Duncan Painter, CEO of Ascential, commented, ‘We have a clear focus on providing information and capabilities that enable our customers to succeed in the digital economy. The acquisition of Flywheel is in line with this strategy, further strengthening our offerings in eCommerce for brands navigating the digital market places, particularly Amazon.’

UK, London & USA, Seattle, WA

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Wunderman acquires Amazon-focused content and campaign agency 2Sales

WundermanWPP‘s wholly owned global digital agency Wunderman, has acquired 2Sales International S.A., an ecommerce consulting agency.

2Sales supports global brands in building their business on Amazon, and will become part of Wunderman’s global commerce offering, Wunderman Commerce. 

2Sales employs 66 people in Luxembourg and is a one-stop Amazon solution that utilises automated processes to optimise content generation, sales and promotions across eight international Amazon platforms. Clients include Acco, Columbia, Fiskars and SC Johnson.

UK, London & USA, New York, NY & Luxembourg

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Ascential acquires price and promotions analytics firm Brand View for £29.8M

Ascential plcGlobal information and events company Ascential plc is to acquire Brand View Limited, a provider of price and promotion analytics for manufacturers and retailers. Ascential will buy the firm for an initial £29.8 million and a deferred payment of up to £8.2 million, subject to Brand View achieving subscription targets in the coming months.

Founded in 2008, Brand View offers data and analysis to retailers and manufacturers to allow them to measure and manage pricing and promotion activity and drive sales, across both off-line and on-line market places. Brand View serves over 200 customers from offices in Reading (UK), Stamford Connecticut (USA) and Paris (France).In the year to June 2018, Brand View generated revenues of £13m. Ascential is expecting the transaction to be earnings enhancing in its current financial year.

Duncan Painter, Chief Executive at Ascential, said, “We have a clear focus on providing information and capabilities that enable our customers to succeed in the digital economy. The acquisition of Brand View, using capital released from the sale of the exhibitions business, supports this goal by broadening our capabilities in ecommerce analytics. Brand View’s price and promotion expertise, and coverage of store-based activity, provides a comprehensive offering for both retailers and manufacturers.”

UK, London & Reading

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Future to acquire Purch’s consumer division for $132.5M

Future plcGlobal specialist media platform Future plc is to acquire the consumer division of Purch, the next generation digital publishing and marketplace platform, operating in the consumer technology and science verticals. The deal will see Future acquire Purch’s publisher services division (ad sales) along with the Business-to-Consumer (B2C) group in a deal worth over $132 million.

The acquisition will give Future a leading position in consumer technology publishing in the U.S. Purch has successfully grown its digitally-led business and generates more than $1 billion annually in facilitated commerce through its tech, shopping, lifestyle and SMB brands, including Tom’s Guide, Tom’s Hardware, Top Ten Reviews, ShopSavvy and Business.com.

Future CEO Zillah Byng-Thorne said, “Future’s mission to be a technology-enabled global platform for specialist media takes another big step forward today with this announcement. I’ve been impressed by the strength of Purch’s technology platforms and the expertise of its people. Together we can build a combined organization that has scale and growth opportunities ahead. The two businesses share similar cultures – we both share our audiences’ passion, we’re data-driven, ambitious and both have an innovative mindset. From day one Future will be number one in the U.S. consumer technology sector, and beyond this we see clear opportunities for combined growth.”

UK, London & US, San Francisco, CA

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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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GoCompare Agrees To Acquire MyVoucherCodes

GoCompareGoCompare.com Group plc has reached an agreement to acquire The Global Voucher Group Limited, which trades as MyVoucherCodes, and its subsidiaries from Monitise Limited for £36.5m in cash, on a cash-free, debt-free basis. The acquisition will be financed through a combination of existing cash resources and an extension to GoCompare’s existing credit facilities.

MyVoucherCodes.co.uk is one of the UK’s largest online voucher code sites with eight million e-mail subscribers and a website which receives around 45 million annual visits. As such, MyVoucherCodes benefits from industry-leading commercial relationships, working with more than 3,000 retail brands.

Matthew Crummack, CEO of GoCompare, said, “We are delighted with this acquisition which will complement the services offered by GoCompare. We are making strong progress towards our ambition to become the ‘go-to’ place for savvy savers to find great deals, and for service providers to reach and acquire customers.”

UK, Newport & London

WPP acquires digital agency Salmon

wppWPP has acquired Okam Limited, the holding company of the Salmon Group. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Salmon provides digital consulting, design, delivery and support services to retail, wholesale and manufacturing brands including Akzo Nobel, Argos, Game, Halfords, Kiddicare, Morrisons, Selfridges and Premier Farnell.

Salmon’s consolidated unaudited revenues for the year ended 31 October 2012 were £34.3 million, with gross assets as at the same date Salmonof £11.3 million.

With a worldwide workforce of 420 people, Salmon was founded in 1989 and operates from offices in the UK, in China and in Australia.  Salmon will continue to operate as an independent and stand-alone brand within WPP and be led by CEO Neil Stewart.

Commenting on the arrival of Salmon, Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, said “The application of technology to marketing continues to accelerate, not least in the retail market and success requires close collaboration between our clients’ marketing and sales organisations and their IT organisation. Close collaboration between Salmon and WPP’s other agencies will allow WPP to bring clients a tightly-integrated solution across both marketing and technology and help both the CMO and CIO deliver customer-centric multi-channel solutions – yet another example of where CMO and CIO have to work together.”

UK, London

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