Centaur Media, the firm behind The Lawyer and Marketing Week, is having another crack at the agency matchmaking business by acquiring Oystercatchers in a £3.35m deal.
Founded in 2008, by Suki Thompson and Peter Cowie, Oystercatchers achieved a turnover of £3.4m in the year to March 31 2016, from which it made a pre-tax profit of £600,000 with assets of £1.1m.
Centaur will pay £2.2m on completion of the deal – expected to be by October 1 – with the remaining £1.15m being deferred to March 31, 2017 until certain conditions are met.
Oystercatchers will move into Centaur’s London offices next month and operate as an independent unit, reporting directly to the Centaur chief executive Andria Vidler.
The consultancy’s team structure will remain the same, with the co-founders continuing to lead the business alongside partners Richard Robinson and Angus Crowther. Centaur insists the full team of project managers, consultants and trainers will also remain on board.
Thompson, who recently fronted the Mailmen marketing campaign for Royal Mail MarketReach, will join Centaur’s executive committee. She said: “Over the last eight years, Oystercatchers has constantly evolved to lead the marketing industry from pitch intermediary to a broader marketing speciality consultancy. Our purchase by Centaur is the next stage in this journey to help us truly accelerate marketing performance across many more brands worldwide.”
Centaur’s previous attempt at launching an agency consultancy-style business – called Pitch – ended in abject failure. The subscription-only online news and agency showcase launched in April 2010 with a huge budget and a big fanfare to take on the likes of AAR and, ironically, Oystercatchers.
The idea was to convince agencies to pay to get their credentials in front of Marketing Week’s client readership. It featured news, views and opinion and the MW Agency Reputation Survey. However, within 15 months it had been axed. Some 18 months later, following a torrid time at the publishing company, both chief executive Geoff Wilmot and managing director of business publishing Tim Potter were ousted.
Vidler, who became Centaur first ever woman CEO in October 2013, said: “Both businesses address the same target market – senior chief marketing officers – and there is little client overlap today.
“The combination of our two businesses offers an opportunity to cross-sell complementary products and services and importantly enable both to help brands impact performance with marketing excellence.”
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