£17m deal fuels print acquisitions

The print industry is continuing to flex its financial muscle as part of a long-term strategy to build an end-to-end marketing capability, with St Ives once again dipping into its bank account with the purchase of market research group Incite.
The all-cash deal, which could be worth up to £17.5m, will see Incite act as subsidiary company within St Ives, with its current management team remaining at the helm. Other companies within the St Ives group include Clays, Forward Thinking, Occam and Response One.
And Keith Hunt, Results International managing partner, believes similar deals are in the offing.
He said: “For several years now we have been seeing a new breed of buyer entering the marketing communications sector alongside the networks, mid cap companies and private equity firms. The publishing/printing industry is showing a great deal of appetite and companies like St Ives, Meredith and Hearst are leading the pack, intent on building their own marketing communications offerings. On its website, for example, St Ives tells us that it is ‘now the UK’s leading independent print, display and related marketing services group’.”
Hunt points out that many traditional media companies have seen the writing on the wall for a while now. “Those like St Ives with the resources as well as the foresight to do so are quickly buying into the skill sets that they feel will best future-proof their businesses.
“Specialist businesses with the right expertise, IP and/or technology offer will find that there are plenty who are willing to invest in their future. Incite is an industry leading specialist market research firm and it fits comfortably with St Ives’ strategy of building a robust offer across data, DM, insight and research capabilities,” he added.
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