HH Global deal heralds Dixon's return

By Rhys Handley, Friday 08 February 2019

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Lateral Group founder Nick Dixon has returned to the print sector after HH Global acquired a majority stake in his buy-and-build venture, Veriteva.

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MacMillan (left) and Dixon shake on the deal

Finalised at 6pm yesterday (7 February), the transaction was motivated by HH Global’s interest in Veriteva’s sole current investment, data marketing operation Blueberry Wave.

Veriteva invested a majority stake in Blueberry Wave in November 2016 and, on the same day as the HH Global deal, it bought the remainder of Blueberry Wave’s equity. Buoyed by the transaction, Veriteva has now set its sights on four new possible acquisitions in the data sector, which it hopes to use as part of its 2019 growth strategy.

Dixon said: “Blueberry Wave is a channel-agnostic service, with print now being part of that thanks to HH Global.

“We work in email marketing, digital communications and more. What we do is look at the data provided by a client and decide on the best channel for it and plan around that. For HH Global, this deal will move them more into that data-driven market with print in the mix.

“Our plans at Blueberry Wave are to leverage HH Global’s worldwide presence and expand ourselves globally. This deal has opened up lots of opportunity for growth.”

Dixon’s business partner Rick Taylor, with whom he founded Lateral and later Veriteva, retired following the completion of the HH deal, with Dixon investing further in Veriteva and its subsidiary to solidify his position under the new regime.

The duo established Veriteva in 2014 following the expiry of their three-year non-compete agreement, which came into effect after the sale of the £54m Lateral to DST in 2011, which subsequently became the cornerstone of Paragon Group's Customer Communications business.

The deal with HH Global marks print industry veteran Dixon’s return to the sector of his roots, having got his start aged 22 as a management trainee with HunterPrint in Corby.

HH Global chief executive Robert MacMillan and chief financial officer Edward Parsons will be appointed to the boards of both Veriteva and Blueberry Wave, while Dixon will take a seat on the board at HH Global.

In a statement, MacMillan said: “We continue to focus on the growth of our core business and are constantly in dialogue with our clients about their requirements and changing needs.

“This acquisition will allow us to expand our service offering to provide data-powered marketing services to our clients. Following a thorough analysis of the market, we are confident that Veriteva is the perfect fit to support our service line expansion plans and complement our growth strategy.”

The acquisition of Circencester, Gloucestershire-based Blueberry Wave adds 60 new members of staff to HH Global’s international headcount of more than 1,000 people.

As a group, HH Global has $500m (£385m) in spend under management. Blueberry Wave has a turnover of around £5m.

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