Serial entrepreneur and former Blueberry Wave and HH Global chief Nick Dixon has returned to the industry by swooping on Kin + Carta’s data-driven marketing agency, Edit, in a deal worth nearly £15m.
Dixon stepped down from Blueberry Wave in October last year, having first joined the business in December 2016 after his then investment firm Veriteva bought a majority stake in Cirencester-based data company.
Having overseen a major expansion programme, Dixon struck a deal with HH Global in February last year which saw the marketing execution giant buy a majority stake in Veriteva and Blueberry Wave; the latter has since rebranded as HH Global.
Within days Nick Dixon launched a new investment company Salocin Capital, which has now secured funding from NVM Private Equity to help finance the £14.8m Edit acquisition. Edit’s leadership team, including joint managing directors Rob McGowan and Jeremy Fisher, will also take a stake in the business.
Edit was formed in 2018 from the merger of Occam, Response One and Amaze One. It can trace its roots back to 1993 with the launch of Occam, which went on to be one of the first companies Kin + Carta (then St Ives) bought to diversify away from its printing operations, in a 2010 deal worth £12.6m.
St Ives then bought Response One, which was launched in 1998, for £19m. Meanwhile, Amaze One was launched as joint venture between Occam and Amaze in 2015.
Edit now delivers unified data solutions, acquisition, and retention campaigns for some of the world’s most recognised brands, including Jaguar Land Rover, Tesco Bank, The British Heart Foundation, and Shell.
It works across sectors including retail, automotive financial services, and not-for-profit with a 120-plus strong team of data scientists, engineers, technology strategists, and planners based in London and Bath.
The deal is the first in a planned series of acquisitions by Dixon’s Salocin venture as part of plans to build of a data powered marketing services group, focused on marketing technology, CRM, analytics, content development, and media optimisation.
It is claimed the deal will allow both Edit and Kin + Carta to maintain focus on their core competencies. Kin + Carta, which also sold sampling agency Relish last week, will concentrate on enterprise-level technology, data, and experience products and services, while Edit will continue to help clients maximise the value of their first-party data.
Both businesses will continue to work closely together, principally in support of key strategic partner, Microsoft, as well as continuing to collaborate on major marketing, data and digital transformation programmes for both private and third sector clients.
While Dixon’s background is in print and print management, he also has experience of a range of different businesses involved in database marketing, insight and analytics, online marketing, and creative services.
His first successful investment dates back to 1992, when, along with four others, he turned round print group Colorgraphic, which had fallen into administration, ultimately selling it off to Big Flower Inc in 2000.
In 2004, Dixon the did the same job with Howitt, which had also fallen into administration, rebuilding the business into the Lateral Group in 2008 and selling it to DST Systems Inc in 2011.
Dixon, who is executive chairman of Salocin, said: “I have kept tabs on Edit from afar for several years, their clear strategic focus on maximising the value of first-party data, and their innovative award-winning campaigns for a wide selection of blue-chip clients covering different sectors, for both B2C and B2B, demonstrates their class-leading credentials. I look forward to contributing to the next phase of their growth.”
NVM investment partner Peter Hodson added: “We are delighted to be backing Nick and the team at Edit to build on what is already a fantastic business. Edit is one of a very small number of companies that are able to bridge the worlds of data and marketing. Their strong heritage in first-party data and loyal customer base set them apart from their peers. We are excited to be on this journey with Nick, Jeremy, Rob and Stuart and confident that under their leadership the business will achieve considerable growth over the coming years.”
McGowan and Fisher added: “Edit received interest from a number of buyers, but as soon as we met Nick and NVM, we knew they would be the perfect fit to take the business forward. Nick’s industry expertise combined with a real understanding of the processes and procedures needed to accelerate growth demonstrated a strong fit for our ambitious growth plans.”
Kin + Carta CEO J Schwan concluded: “We are pleased to be selling the business to a buyer who is well disposed to maintain a close and supportive partnership with Kin + Carta post-sale. As a result, you can expect to see Edit and Kin + Carta still partnering, much as we have been doing to date, for some years to come. I’d like to thank all Edit staff, past and present, for their contributions to Kin + Carta and wish them well on the next phase of their journey.”
Dixon launches investment business Salocin Capital
Nick Dixon quits Blueberry Wave for the next big deal
HH Global swallows US giant to boost expansion plans
Nick Dixon buyout group swoops on Blueberry Wave
Response One, Occam and Amaze One rebrand as Edit