September 2017

Kingston Smith Corporate Finance (KSCFL) has advised youth, entertainment and technology specialist media buyer, MJ Media, on its sale to integrated agency Once Upon A Time. KSCFL was appointed to help find an acquirer for MJ Media and used its expert knowledge of the industry and extensive network to identify strategic acquirers.

MJ Media received significant interest from a number of agencies across the industry looking to acquire MJ Media’s media buying expertise and youth, technology and entertainment sector knowledge. Having identified strategic acquirers within the industry, KSCFL worked closely with MJ Media’s Founder, Martin Jones, and Managing Director, Matthew Fuller, and managed and negotiated the sales process to a successful completion.

Matt Fuller said: “Mandy Merron and Paul Winterflood of Kingston Smith have exceeded my expectations every step of the way, always simplifying the difficult things to make them understandable and taking all challenges in their stride. They have been a pleasure to partner with, the biggest testimony I could give is that I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone who is looking for excellent and expert advice.”

Mandy Merron, Director of Kingston Smith Corporate Finance said: “It was a pleasure to work with Martin and Matt from start to finish on this deal. MJ Media and Once Upon A Time are a great fit and we expect to see the enlarged group continue to go from strength to strength over the next few years”.
December 2016

Kingston Smith Corporate Finance is delighted to have advised on the sale of a majority stake in Code Computer Love (“Code”) to MediaCom, part of WPP. Nicola Horton led the Kingston Smith team that advised the shareholders of Code on the transaction and was assisted by Paul Winterflood.

Founded in 1999, and headquartered in Manchester with around 80 staff, Code is a user experience studio that creates and develops digital products, campaigns and capabilities. Clients include Hillarys, Brother and Amnesty International.

Following the acquisition, Code will continue to be managed by its founders Tony Foggett, Louis Georgiou and Wini Tse, who retain a significant stake in the business.

Commenting on the transaction, Tony Foggett, Code’s CEO, said: “We are so pleased that we approached Kingston Smith to help, guide and advise us through the process. Nicola Horton and her team provided us with the professionalism, experience and expertise in a manner that gave us the confidence to successfully get through and complete the deal. We are delighted to recommend them to other SMEs in a similar situation.‘’

MediaCom said that the acquisition would allow it to offer clients a fully connected service across the entire customer journey. The deal also helps meet a target set by MediaCom parent WPP for between 40% and 45% of its total revenues to be derived from digital services within the next five years.
November 2016

Kingston Smith Corporate Finance advises House PR on sale to W

Kingston Smith Corporate Finance Limited (KSCFL) is delighted to have advised House PR on its sale to W, PR Week’s mid-sized consultancy of the year 2015. KSCFL was appointed to help find an acquirer for House PR and used its expert knowledge of the industry and extensive network to identify strategic acquirers.

House PR received significant interest from a number of agencies in the industry looking to acquire House PR’s expertise in entertainment and hospitality brands. KSCFL worked closely with House PR’s Managing Director Ginny Paton and managed and negotiated the sales process to a successful completion.

Ginny Paton comments: “Mandy Merron and Paul Winterflood supported us every step of the way. KSCFL was the perfect partner for us using its expertise and knowledge of the sector to generate significant interest and manage the deal to a successful completion.”

Mandy Merron, Director of Kingston Smith Corporate Finance says, “It was a pleasure to work with Ginny from start to finish on this deal. House PR and W are a great fit and we expect to see the enlarged W group continue to go from strength to strength over the next few years”.
September 2016

Kingston Smith Corporate Finance has supported the shareholders of Flipside on the sale of their mobile and digital agency to Weber Shandwick, part of the Interpublic Group.

Headquartered in London, with 35 staff, Flipside designs and develops mobile apps and digital experiences, and does strategic business and technology planning, social media management and mobile-centric marketing communications.

The acquisition combines Flipside’s mobile platform expertise, and creative and technical services with Weber Shandwick’s global capabilities in social media, brand publishing and integrated media. Together with Flipside, Weber Shandwick will deliver a full-scale, modern digital offering that blends content, community and commerce for both B2C and B2B marketers.

Nicola Horton led the Kingston Smith Corporate Finance team in providing transaction support services to the Flipside shareholders.

Commenting on the transaction, Tim Drake, Flipside’s Managing Director, said: “Nicola and her team rose magnificently to the occasion delivering accurate, easy to consume models and added-value interpretation leveraging their subjective market expertise. What could have been an extremely stressful period for us was made almost enjoyable by the Kingston Smith team.”
February 2016

In February 2016 Golin acquired award-winning independent creative agency The Brooklyn Brothers. With 130 staff in offices in the UK, US and Brazil and a Hollywood writing room, the deal significantly increases the scope of Golin’s New York and London operations. The Brooklyn Brothers’ clients include brands such as Castrol Edge, NBC and Pepsi.

Kingston Smith gave tax advice to the shareholders of The Brooklyn Brothers in respect of their sale to Golin.
February 2016

Kingston Smith Corporate Finance has supported the shareholders of 3 Monkeys Communications on the sale of their agency to global network, Zeno Group.

Founded 13 years ago and headquartered in London, 3 Monkeys employs more than 60 staff. Clients include Microsoft, United Biscuits and TGI Fridays. Zeno Group is a global independent communications agency with 22 offices around the world, employing more than 300 people.

Zeno Group has merged its existing UK operations with those of 3 Monkeys, to form 3 Monkeys | Zeno, in order to create a more powerful platform from which to grow in Europe and beyond.
Kingston Smith Corporate Finance provided transaction support services to the 3 Monkeys shareholders and management team.

Commenting on the transaction, Greg Tulett, 3 Monkeys’ Finance Director said: “Having worked with Kingston Smith for a number of years to help grow and shape our business in their role as auditors, they were a straightforward choice to partner with to help advise on the transaction and provided valuable insight on the tax structuring.”
September 2015

Oliver Marketing is a marketing agency with a difference. The company has developed a disruptive model which provides dedicated on site agencies for its clients. Oliver is growing fast but, as well as organic growth, the business is looking to acquire.

September 2015 was a busy month for Oliver, and for us, as we worked with them on their acquisitions of leading digital agency, Dare from EDC Communications and leading property specialist marketing agency, Aylesworth Fleming from Emerge.

On Oliver’s acquisition of Dare, we were asked to provide transaction support to Oliver with financial and tax due diligence. Working closely with group finance director, Simon Weaver, we were delighted to be able to help deliver this transaction. Simon Weaver said: ‘I’m very pleased with the acquisition of the Dare Digital Group, and would like to thank Mandy’s team at Kingston Smith for their invaluable support, help and insight in completing this acquisition’.
September 2015

Oliver Marketing is a marketing agency with a difference. The company has developed a disruptive model which provides dedicated on site agencies for its clients. Oliver is growing fast but, as well as organic growth, the business is looking to acquire.

September 2015 was a busy month for Oliver, and for us, as we worked with them on their acquisitions of leading digital agency, Dare from EDC Communications and leading property specialist marketing agency, Aylesworth Fleming from Emerge.

Kingston Smith’s remit was to identify creative agencies with a strong geographical footprint and Aylesworth Fleming fitted the bill. Established in 1985 in Bournemouth, the company now employs more than 100 people in offices in London, Bournemouth, Edinburgh, Leicester and Manchester and has a network of remote account handlers nationwide.
June 2015

We are delighted to have advised on the planned acquisition of Reef Television by UK media business, Ten Alps Plc.

Reef Television is one of the UK’s leading producers of factual television, including long-running series such as “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is” (BBC One) and “Selling Houses with Amanda Lamb” (More 4). AIM-listed Ten Alps’ operations cover television programming, business publishing and digital content production.

Kingston Smith Corporate Finance acted as lead financial and tax advisers to the shareholders of Reef Television and provided transaction and accounting support services to the finance team, enabling this deal to be completed against very tight deadlines.

Richard Farmbrough, Chief Executive of Reef Television says, “Nicola Horton and her team at Kingston Smith have proved themselves to be terrific partners in this acquisition process, providing cool-headed advice at every stage, managing the expectations of all parties and showing superhuman levels of patience.”
May 2015

Kingston Smith Corporate Finance has advised on the sale of shopper marketing agency, Vivid Brand Communications, to international marcoms network Publicis Worldwide.

Founded in 1991 and headquartered in London, Vivid specialises in shopper research, strategic planning, visual identity systems, in-store communications, digital shopper marketing and packaging design. The firm uses insight into brands and consumer behaviour to create retail experiences that drive purchases and build long-term loyalty. Vivid’s clients include Nestlé, Coca Cola, Pernod Ricard, Beiersdorf, Johnson & Johnson, Henkel, SAB Miller and Diageo.

Vivid will be joining the Publicis UK network, which also includes Publicis London, POKE, Publicis Chemistry and Publicis Blueprint. The acquisition is expected to strengthen Publicis’s service offering to clients, with the opportunity to embed Vivid’s shopper methodology across the entire network.

Kingston Smith Corporate Finance acted as lead financial and tax adviser to the members of Vivid Brand Communications LLP.

Commenting on the transaction, Andy Scott, Vivid’s founder and CEO, said: “This partnership will create more opportunities to deliver world-class shopper strategy and campaigns for our clients globally.”

Andy then went on to say: “Vivid would like to extend our thanks to Kingston Smith Corporate Finance for their support during the acquisition of our company by Publicis UK. It could have been a very complicated and difficult process for us but the Kingston Smith team were always readily available to offer easy to understand guidance that enabled us to make important decisions with confidence. We felt completely at ease during the acquisition process, as the advice received was always thorough and detailed, particularly around the structure of the sale and the tax implications. We appreciate the dedication they have always exemplified and our level of satisfaction couldn’t be any higher.”
February 2015

Kingston Smith Corporate Finance advised on the sale of global media management and distribution provider, WRN Broadcast Limited, to Babcock International Group plc.

Headquartered in London, WRNB offers innovative broadcast solutions that deliver television and radio content to any platform or device anywhere around the world.

WRNB will join Babcock’s Media Services business. The acquisition strengthens Babcock’s service offering to customers, and the wider market, by combining the two companies’ engineering and operations expertise and extending Babcock’s range of services and broadcast solutions. Kingston Smith Corporate Finance acted as lead financial and tax adviser to the shareholders of WRNB and provided transaction and support services to the WRNB executive management team.

Commenting on the transaction, Tim Ashburner, WRNB’s former Chairman, said: “We have been working closely with Babcock for many years since the days of the original BBC Control Room. Babcock’s size and diversity and WRNB’s innovation and knowledge will provide a formidable product offering and service to the industry. We are delighted to have made this happen.”

Tim then went on to say: “When the process of selling the business began, Kingston Smith’s attention to detail and personal guidance to the shareholders made the process understandable and as painless as possible. We doubt that without their help we would have come through relatively unscathed.”
February 2015

Kingston Smith Corporate Finance advised Mobeus Equity Partners on the management buyout of Media Business Insight Limited, the UK’s leading publishing and events business focused on the creative industries: advertising, TV production and film.

Media Business Insight, which employs more than seventy staff, and enjoys an annual turnover of £11m, has four product lines: Broadcast, the principal publication for those working in the UK broadcasting industry; Screen International, the leading film industry resource that covers the international film markets; Shots, the industry benchmark for internationally leading commercials, and Alf, which is the UK's principal marketing and advertising intelligence tool.

Mobeus Equity Partners is a leading UK VCT Manager with £230m funds under management and is an active investor in privately-owned UK SMEs. Kingston Smith Corporate Finance gave valuation advice to Mobeus Equity Partners who provided a combined debt and equity package to support the transaction.

Chris Price, Investment Director at Mobeus Equity Partners, said: “Nicola Horton and her team provided us with valuation advice on our investment in to Media Business Insight. Nicola mobilised quickly and with her in depth knowledge of the sector was able to provide us with detailed analysis against a tight timeframe. This is the third time we have worked with Nicola in the publishing sector and we value her knowledge and insight in our decision making process.”
August 2014

We are delighted to have advised on the sale of a majority stake in Albion Brand Communication Limited to KBS (kirshenbaum bond senecal + partners), part of NASDAQ-quoted MDC Partners Inc.

Founded in 2002, Albion is a creative business partner to Europe’s most renowned entrepreneurs, startups and corporations, with a reputation for inventing and reinventing businesses to unlock growth. The agency offers a modern approach to a broad range of marketing services including advertising, branding, PR, data-led marketing, and product design.

KBS, a MDC Partners agency, has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto and Montreal. The partnership with Albion adds a 100-person office in London to lead the group’s activity in Europe. Albion and KBS have been working together informally in recent months, and the agencies are currently collaborating on a number of new business and organic growth opportunities in North America, Europe and China.

Kingston Smith Corporate Finance acted as lead financial and tax adviser to the shareholders of Albion and provided transaction and accounting support services to the Albion finance team, enabling the cross-border deal to be completed within a very short timeframe.

Craig Wildman, Albion’s Finance Director and Albion shareholder said: “The Kingston Smith Corporate Finance team was the perfect partner for Albion in this transaction. They were with us every step of the way, and we wouldn’t have had such a smooth process and fantastic result without their valuable advice and assistance.”
Kingston Smith Corporate Finance acted as lead adviser to the managing director and minority shareholder of Not To Scale with regard to the management buy out (and associated fundraising) of the silent, majority shareholder.

Established in 2005, Not To Scale is an award winning animation studio based in the heart of Soho. The studio has taken advantage of the digital revolution, providing animation solutions and becoming a key component within an integrated advertising campaign. Recent clients include Nike, Volvo and Channel 4, while currently the business is working with Burberry, O2, Coca-Cola and the BBC.
We worked with the MBO team to put in place the most attractive funding package through our network of banks and finance providers, and dealt with the on going negotiations through to a successful close.

Founder of Not to Scale, Daniel O’Rourke, commented, “The team at Kingston Smith were fantastic at getting this deal over the line. Like a lot of things in business, they can often take far longer to put in place than initially anticipated and they were great at keeping the energy up on the deal and getting all parties to the table with the right funding in place, on fair terms when we needed to."
July 2011

In 2011 we helped Writtle Holdings Ltd, the media sector investment company, buy Loewy Group. We led the financial due diligence and advised the directors on the key technical accounting and operational issues identified in the process.

The deal brought together the iconic Loewy brand’s operating companies, which include Epoch Design, Seymour Powell, Speed Communications, The Team and Williams Murray Hamm, with Writtle’s existing portfolio of businesses, which include 20|20, Arken, Beyond Communications, Creo Retail Marketing, Maglabs and Magnet Harlequin.

Since the deal, the performance of the Loewy Group companies bought in 2011 exceeded expectations in their first full year of trading, and the appointment of four directors from these companies to the Writtle Board reflects the important financial and strategic contribution to the group that these businesses are now making.

Robert Essex, CEO of Writtle Group, said, “the team at Kingston Smith did an excellent job for us. Their marketing sector expertise and commercial focus on the key issues really helped in our negotiation and we would be delighted to work with them again.”
December 2012

Kingston Smith Corporate Finance acted as lead adviser to the owners of i-D magazine, on its sale to Vice Media Group as the Group continues to expand into the on-line fashion market.

i-D magazine was started by Terry and Tricia Jones over 30 years ago and they have developed it into a forerunning magazine in fashion, art, music and culture.

Having worked with i-D magazine since inception, Kingston Smith Corporate Finance were ideally placed to help maximise shareholder value through the negotiation process, which included closing the deal in an unusually short timeframe.
May 2014

Kingston Smith Corporate Finance are delighted to have assisted M&C Saatchi plc with financial due diligence support on their acquisition of Lean Mean Fighting Machine, following our work with them on the acquisition of Merlin Elite in 2012.

Digital specialists Lean Mean Fighting Machine will be integrated into the M&C Saatchi UK business.