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Oystercatchers in £3.35m sale to Marketing Week owner

Legacy publishers are racing to become something else in the digital era and Centaur Media, owner of Marketing Week and Creative Review, is venturing into new territory by buying pitch consultancy Oystercatchers.

Oystercatchers, founded by Suki Thompson and Peter Cowie in 2008, also offers training and other consultancy services. The deal follows Centaur’s acquisition of digital specialist Econsultancy in 2012 for an upfront payment of £12m.

Oystercatchers has been bought for £2.2m with a further £1.15m payable depending on earnings in the year to March next year. Which doesn’t sound that much as the business has been reported to make £600,000 profit on a turnover of £3.4m, three times its turnover in 2012.

suki_thompsonThompson (left), who will join Centaur’s executive committee, says: “Oystercatchers has evolved into one of the leading specialist marketing consultancies in Europe. Joining Centaur is another stage on this journey and will help us take our expertise to many more brands globally. We are excited to be joining Centaur.”

Centaur CEO Andria Vidler says: “This acquisition is a win-win for our businesses. The combination will enable Centaur to become the ‘go-to’ provider for brands seeking to drive their marketing performance.”

Centaur also says Oystercatchers will build on the work of Econsultancy which offers research, data, analysis, training and consulting services. Opportunities exist to cross-sell services to more clients in more territories with Centaur’s US platform “particularly relevant to Oystercatchers’ existing and future clients.”

The pitch consultancy market has become even more crowded in recent years. Marketing consultancy Flock handled the big US McDonald’s creative pitch earlier this year. Also the focus has shifted somewhat from creative agencies to media agencies with the really big pitches involving US and global media accounts, often involving hundreds of meetings.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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