St Ives in £25m digital marketing buy
By Jo Francis Monday, 11 March 2013
St Ives has added to its growing marketing services offering with another significant acquisition.
The group is set to acquire digital marketing agency Amaze in a deal worth up to £25m. The acquisition is subject to the approval of shareholders at Amaze’s current owner, Hasgrove.
Amaze made an operating profit of £1.7m on sales of £17.3m last year.
It employs 200 staff and its management will remain with the business, which will become a subsidiary of St Ives.
St Ives will pay an initial £15.3m in cash, plus up to a further £9.7m if Amaze hits certain profit targets in the rest of this calendar year.
St Ives chief executive Patrick Martell said: "We’ve been looking for the right business in this space for over a year. It’s the next pillar of what we are looking to build – we have data marketing, field marketing, and now online marketing with Amaze."
"It’s another significant step in getting to 40% of our operating profits coming from marketing services," he added.
Amaze clients include Unilever, Coca-Cola, Lexus, LateRooms and Odeon Cinemas.
Its services span digital commerce and technology, and include ecommerce, apps, websites and social media. The London-based firm is active in 104 countries and in 28 languages.
Hasgrove said it was selling the business because Amaze needed a strategic partner with the ability to invest in the business. "New business opportunities are now actively being turned down due to a lack of resource," the firm said.
Martell said St Ives planned to invest in people and overseas offices. The group has just set up an office in Singapore and is planning another in New York.
"We can invest to grow it, which is what it needs. We are following our international customers around the world, where they want our services," he said.
Further acquisitions to build upon the group's marketing services offering remain a possibility.
St Ives shares rose 6.5p to 128.25p on the news. Hasgrove shares rose 15p to 77.5p. St Ives will release its interim results tomorrow (12 March).
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