MSQ hails tenth year with 57% revenue rise to £91.3m

Peter Reid, CEO, MSQ PartnersInternational creative and technology agency group MSQ has reported record growth in its latest set of results, with revenue increasing 57% to £91.3m and EBITDA rising 51% to £11.4m for the full financial year ending February 28 2022.

Celebrating its tenth year, MSQ now claims to be the largest UK-based independent marketing group, with ten agencies, including The Gate, Walk-In Media, MBAstack, twentysix and Smarts.

The group secured a number of new key global clients during the past 12 months, including CFA Institute, AXA Investment Managers and VisitBritain, while agency new business wins included Lego, Juniper Networks, Deloitte, Schroders, Johnson & Johnson and Guide Dogs.

This strong new business performance has maintained momentum during the first half of FY23, with MSQ reporting substantial, double-digit organic growth and further key wins in North America, UK and Asia.

MSQ, which is supported by LDC, the UK’s leading mid-market private equity firm, continued to add to its growing group offer during FY22 to provide clients with more agile, diverse and deeper specialisms.

In October 2021, it acquired the creative production studio Brave Spark, and two months later snapped up design agency Elmwood, which was merged with Holmes & Marchant to create a new global design business.

In addition to its agency acquisitions, MSQ launched a number of group services to better serve client needs in the current climate. The group has introduced MSQ Global Studios, connecting craft skills, insights and technology to help brands create culturally relevant content at speed and scale, while MSQ Data joins-up more than 60 specialists dedicated to providing global and local brands with leading data, insight and martech capabilities.

If the FY22 results are normalised for the full year impact of the acquisitions, MSQ had annual revenues of £101.1m and EBITDA of £13.0m, representing a more than doubling in size in the last three years.

MSQ has also invested significantly in its international model, opening its media agency Walk-In Media in New York and its research and insights agency Freemavens in China. Ex-Leo Burnett creative director Lisa Leone has been appointed the group’s first chief creative officer in North America, while Andy Edmonds has been appointed general manager of MSQ Studios in Asia.

MSQ global chief executive Peter Reid said: “The past few years have been hugely successful for MSQ and our latest results are testament to the talent we have across the group and the client-centric joined-up model we have in place.

“Our record new business performance continues, client sentiment remains strong and, with 70% of our top 20 clients now working with more than one part of MSQ, it makes me really optimistic for the future.

“As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, I’m not just proud of our growth but of the ever-increasing quality of our work, too. Last year we won our first haul of Cannes Lions, we’ve been recognised by everyone from WARC to The Marketing Society for our Effectiveness and MSQ B2B is now the UK’s number one B2B network. And perhaps best of all, we remain committed to our core strategic pillar of Doing the Right Thing. We have industry-leading sustainability practices in place and are well on our way to achieving our science-based targets for 2030.”

MSQ became a carbon negative business in 2020 and appointed its first chief sustainability officer in 2021. The group has invested in a series of initiatives to reach an initial goal of cutting emissions per head by a further 50% by 2024, including signing up to The Million Tree Pledge, implementing a staff renewable energy scheme and applying formal science based targets.

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