Ascential plc has acquired digital information business WARC

Ascential plc, the global specialist information company, today announces the acquisition of the entire share capital of WARC Limited for an initial cash consideration of £19.5m (subject to a normalised working capital adjustment), plus deferred consideration of £4.5m payable in 2019. The acquisition is expected to complete on 2 July 2018.

WARC is a global digital subscription business that helps brands, agencies and media platforms assess marketing effectiveness across all channels.  It is the global leader in providing information and insight to understand and measure multi-channel advertising effectiveness.  Founded in 1985, the business offers advertising best practice, evidence and insights from the world’s leading brands.  The business employs approximately 90 people with offices in London, Washington DC and Singapore and serves approximately 1,200 customers globally.

The business strengthens Ascential’s digital product offering in the marketing discipline to span both creative excellence and marketing effectiveness and the intention is to combine WARC with Cannes Lions’ The Work, to form a digital subscription product of scale.

In the year to 31 March 2018 WARC generated unaudited revenue of £10.8m (a growth of 10%) and EBITDA of £2.2m.  Gross assets at 31 March 2018 were £9.6m.  The acquisition, which will be funded from cash reserves and existing borrowing facilities, is expected to enhance Ascential’s earnings per share in the current financial year.

 Duncan Painter, CEO of Ascential, commented: “Ascential enables its customers to win in the digital economy.  WARC is an important step forward as we continue to grow our digital offering, adding breadth and depth to our marketing proposition.  Alongside Cannes Lions’ The Work, our recent digital product launch, we will now have a digital subscription product of scale encompassing both creative excellence and marketing effectiveness.”

About Ascential plc:

Ascential is a specialist, global, information company that helps the world’s most ambitious businesses win in the digital economy. Our information, insights, connections, data and digital tools solve customer problems in three disciplines:

·     PRODUCT DESIGN via global trend forecasting service WGSN;

·     MARKETING via global benchmark for creative excellence and effectiveness Cannes Lions and strategic advisory firm MediaLink; and

·     SALES via retail and eCommerce strategy and analytics products from One Click Retail, Clavis Insight and Planet Retail RNGthe world’s premier payments and Fin Tech congress Money20/20, global retail industry summit World Retail Congress and Retail Week.

Ascential also powers political, construction and environmental intelligence brands DeHavilland, Glenigan and Groundsure.

About WARC:

WARC is an online subscription service offering advertising best practice, evidence and insights from the world’s leading brands.  The core focus of the business is in helping brands, agencies and media platforms to understand, measure and maximise advertising effectiveness across all channels.

Founded in 1985, WARC’s core product is a content-rich online platform focused on media and advertising effectiveness which contains a large number of case studies; thought leadership and best practice reports; benchmarks and rankings of advertising and media performance including the Gunn Report (the leading global ranking for creative effectiveness for campaigns, brands and agencies); and WARC Plus which provides a bespoke Q&A service, primarily targeting Brands.