St Ives Group has acquired digital marketing and technology agency Amaze for up to £24.3 million.
Amaze, which is currently owned by Hasgrove, specialises in strategic consultancy, design and build, digital commerce, technology and communications, and global implementation and rollout services, counting Coca Cola, Odeon, Toyota and Unilever among its clients.
St Ives has agreed to acquire all of the issued share capital of Amaze, paying an initial £15.3 million in cash, with a further consideration of up to £9 million which may be payable dependent on incremental financial performance for the year ending 31 December 2013.
Hasgrove's chief executive, Paul Sanders, said: "We have worked with the management team of Amaze to grow and develop the business. It is now of a scale which needs further investment to take it to the next level.
"Therefore having received a good offer, we have decided now is the right time to realise our investment in Amaze.”
St Ives CEO Patrick Martell said the acquisition will create the foundation for an additional “major pillar” of its marketing services strategy.
“We have strong positions in data marketing, research and consultancy services, field marketing, and now digital solutions. Further acquisitions will be focused on building out these four pillars to further strengthen our integrated marketing services offering,” he said.
Amaze CEO Natalie Gross added: “St Ives has a well-known history for backing and supporting the growth and expansion of the companies it acquires and enabling them to realise their full potential.”
Following the acquisition Amaze will continue under its own brand as a subsidiary of St Ives.
Amaze sale: the desire for digital continues unabated
Andy Collins is a senior partner at Results International, which acted as an adviser to Amaze/Hasgrove on the deal. He explains why the digital agency was seen as an exciting prospect by St Ives:
"Like an LBi or AKQA, Amaze has strength across the entire digital stack from marketing strategy through to solution design and implementation. This relatively unique combination of the creative mind set of an agency coupled with robust technology implementation skills has enabled it to develop a strong position in global eCommerce and eCRM implementations and has helped drive recent impressive growth.
"Amaze is, in many respects, positioned more closely to the large strategy and business consulting firms such as IBM Interactive, Deloitte Digital and Accenture than a traditional digital agency.
"Following the high profile LBi and AKQA deals of 2012, there is a shrinking pool of sizeable independent digital agencies. This transaction demonstrates that there is still considerable appetite for such agencies, particularly those with international reach, and strong capabilities in eCommerce, eCRM, mobile, social media and technology.
"For St Ives the acquisition of a sizeable digital asset of this calibre is a vital building block in its strategy to develop its integrated marketing services offering."