Marcoms group MSQ has completed the acquisition of smaller rival Be Heard Partnership in a deal with an enterprise value of £20.6m (which includes debt.) Be Heard has now delisted from the London Stock Exchange.
The deal creates a group with numerous agencies – Be Heard’s MMT Digital (tech and digital transformation), Freemavens (data analytics/insight) and Agenda21 (digital media) adding to MSQ’s Holmes & Marchant (branding and design), Smarts (PR and content), Stack (customer acquisition and engagement), Stein IAS (B2B marketing), The Gate/ Walk-In Media (creative and media) and twentysix (digital).
MSQ now boasts 785 staff in the UK, Asia and US. The deal was backed by finance from the Manchester arm of existing MSQ investor LDC. Be Heard’s senior managers have invested in the enlarged group, on the MSQ model. MSQ says it intends to be carbon negative (better than neutral) from next year, a move should play well with its many government clients.
MSQ CEO Peter Reid says: “Through the acquisition, we will add significant depth, scale and expertise in digital tech and data analytics; areas that make us more relevant to a greater number of clients in a world where these talents are increasingly sought. Connecting those tech skills with MSQ’s creative skills will make us one of the leading tech enabled groups.
“It’s an exciting time in MSQ’s development, not least transacting a deal and integrating two groups in the virtual, and often challenging environment, that we are currently operating in. A number of interesting discussions are already taking place between the agencies and new business opportunities are arising as a result both in the UK and across our international offices.”
The deal pitches MSQ against the likes of brandtech group You & Mr Jones and Sir Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital as a number of entrepreneurs try to re-invent marcoms with a tech twist.