Former Lateral bosses make first of planned acquisitions

By Hannah Jordan, Friday 25 November 2016

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Veriteva, the buy-and-build business set up by former Lateral Group duo Nick Dixon and Rick Taylor, has made its first acquisition as the pair lay the foundation for a new entrepreneurial marketing services group.

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Dixon: "This is the small beginnings of what we want to create."

The firm has agreed the purchase of Cirencester-based data analytic firm, Blueberry Wave as part of an acquisition strategy targeting print, marketing and data and analytics businesses. The agreement comes after discussions over the past 17 months.

Dixon and Taylor established Veriteva in 2014 following the expiry of their three-year non-compete agreement, which came into effect after the sale of their £54m business, Lateral Group, to DST in 2011.

“This is the small beginnings of what we want to create,” said Dixon. “We have reviewed about 15 businesses in both data and analytics and other ancillary marketing service providers over this period.

"One of the key areas that we wanted to achieve early on was what Blueberry Wave can deliver, which is strategy, campaign planning and data and analytics. It’ll help us build a data-driven marketing services provider across a range of disciplines to enable our clients to communicate more efficiently and more effectively,” he explained.

Dixon said he could not reveal full details of the acquisition, such as funding sources and equity stakes, but he said Blueberry Wave would retain its identity and it would be business as usual for the  £4.5m-turnover, 57-staff firm with founders Pamela Bath and Steve Schneekloth both retaining equity positions. He added that there was a possibility that future Veriteva acquisitions would assume the Blueberry Wave brand.

“There has been a bit of consolidation in this particular sector and there aren’t many good ones around now, but Blueberry Wave is a great company. They are profitable, great people with a great client base and a strong brand. It just needs to go to the next stage of its development and we can help with that,” Dixon said.

Blueberry Wave co-founder Bath said: “We were impressed with Veriteva's vision and what Nick and Rick have created in the past. We view Veriteva as an excellent home for our business to embark upon its next stage of development and look forward to helping to create a multi-disciplined group.”

Dixon confirmed that Veriteva was in talks with other potential acquisition targets, but said that it was impossible to say how many they were hoping to acquire and over what timescale.

“These things take a lot of time. It’s a bit of a numbers game and you have to make sure you get the right business with the right culture and the right strategy.

"We want to offer a range of different services and products. We have looked at printed communications and other areas and we have a couple of irons in the fire, but that’s all I can say at the moment,” Dixon said.

He added: “Blueberry Wave is the first, so now let's see if we can get one or two that we are talking to across the line.”

Separately, there has been no further update on the future ownership of DST UK, which was put up for sale by its US parent in June. Both RR Donnelley and Paragon Group have been mooted as potential buyers. Dixon declined to comment on the DST sale.

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