Essentially Group in double acquisition

Sports marketing and media business Essentially Group plc has acquired sports consultancies Frontiers Group UK and Athletes 1 Sports for up to £12.3 million in cash and shares.

Essentially Group will pay £8.2 million up front for the businesses, with the remainder dependent on earn-out targets being reached.

The deals were financed by a share placing on AIM of £4.6 million net, plus consideration shares and bank debt.

Frontiers is a London-based sports marketing business specialising in cricket. It generates income from cricket sponsorship, other sport sponsorship, corporate consulting and event management. For the year to June 30, 2006, Frontiers’ turnover was £4 million and its pre-tax profits were £400,000.

Athletes 1 is a cricket athlete management agency. Its head office is in London with offices in Australia and India. Its clients include Australia’s captain Ricky Ponting, England bowlers Liam Plunkett and Jon Lewis and former England batsmen Mark Butcher and Graham Thorpe. For the year to August 31, 2006, Athletes 1 had turnover of £1.2 million and made pre-tax profits of £200,000.

“There is a strong rationale to complete these acquisitions and the related fundraising,” said John Byfield, chairman of Essentially Group. “They represent a good cultural fit for our existing business and will also, we believe, be earnings enhancing for the year ended 31 December 2007 and beyond. As with our existing business both acquisitions have high levels of recurring revenue under long term contracts.”

Jersey-based Essentially Group’s share price has risen by 1.5p on the back of this announcement and now stands at 18p, giving the company a market cap of £12.15 million.

The deals are a continuation of the group’s acquisition strategy that saw its profits jump by about 83% to some £536,000 for the year ended December 31, 2006 after making four acquisitions in the year. Its turnover was also up by 80% year on year to £1.85 million.

Marc Barber

Marc Barber

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.

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