Freshwater’s magical Cardiff move

Freshwater UK has completed its third deal in four months as part of its plan to build a network of regional PR and marketing services companies.

The group bought Cardiff-based Merlin Marketing & Public Relations for £1 million. On completion £900,000 was paid in cash and shares with the balance due depending on financial performance in the next 12 months.

This follows the group’s recent acquisitions of Waterfront Conference, a UK and EU public affairs and conference agency, and Lynx Public Relations, a Leeds-based consultancy specialising in the utilities sector.

The acquisition of Merlin enhances Freshwater’s Welsh operations and expands the group’s design, production, event management and marketing operations. The group now has ten offices in the UK and Brussels, housing 193 employees.

The deal allows Freshwater to offer a range of digital services to its 400 clients, including website design, online and viral marketing, social networking as well as blogging and podcasts.

The acquired company’s managing director, Bruce Morrison, has been retained by Freshwater following the completion of the deal to head the group’s Welsh operations.

Merlin was established in 1985 as a TV and video production company and today also provides design marketing, website design and event management as well as public relations. Its clients include Tesco, ITV, HBOS, Penderyn Welsh Whisky, Macob, the General Teaching Council for Wales, Mermaid Quay and International Business Wales.

In the year to January 2007, Merlin reported an audited pre-tax profit of £61,000 from a £1.62 million turnover.

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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