The Drum Awards Festival - Official Deadline

-d -h -min -sec

Undefined

The Mission Marketing Group in 'early discussions' over two potential acquisitions reveals chairman David Morgan

Author

By Gillian West, Social media manager

November 5, 2012 | 5 min read

Mission Marketing Group chairman David Morgan has revealed that the company is in ‘early discussions’ over further acquisition deals which he expects to announce in the next three months.

“There are still good opportunities out there and some smashing firms,” said Morgan, while discussing the group’s acquisition strategy with The Drum following recent deals to bring Balloon Dog and Addiction into the Mission Group fold.

Speaking of the Mission’s acquisition strategy Morgan explained: “Our acquisition strategy stems from looking at our group and thinking which areas do we either need to be better at, or where we have gaps…we identify target groups that would suit us and make us best in class.”

He continued: “There is no such thing as a best time to buy an agency, I think at the moment there are some very good businesses out there who probably through no fault of their own are struggling a bit because of the financial pressures and recession and that’s where an opportunity lies for a group like us.”

One such business is Addiction, which became part of the Mission Marketing Group in September, speaking of that particular acquisition Morgan commented: “To put the record straight here, we didn’t actually buy Addiction.

“Addiction was a very nice business and a very good business that got itself into some financial difficulties. When it folded we stepped in because we liked what it did, the business itself wasn’t doing very well and for obvious reasons that’s why it folded.

“Why did we like it? It’s got a very, very good television and content production facility and throughout our agencies we buy a lot of TV and broadcast work and content. So we could see an opportunity to improve the delivery of that for all of our agencies by utilising their strengths and ultimately in doing that it will rebuild a business that’s struggling a bit so its win/win for both sides.”

Writing in his mergers and acquisitions blog in October, Tony Walford drew comparisons between the Mission and magazine publisher EMAP. EMAP enjoyed huge success in the 1980s and 90s before hitting the downturn in print and suffering from an overly ambitious acquisitions strategy. When asked about the comparison, Morgan replied: “In 2005 when the Mission was formed the strategy was to buy a number of medium based agencies and merge them into one new group. That was at a time the market was flying and banks were lending people money and people were keen on doing deals. In truth it wasn’t a bad strategy it was the wrong timing.

“It’s wrong to think the strategy at Mission to buy lots of things and make it bigger, the strategy is to buy really good things and therefore use those skills throughout our group.

“I don’t ever think anything is great because it is bigger.”

By Morgan’s own admittance the Mission “got itself into a pickle a few years ago” and it would seem the recent ‘buying spree’ is the result of better times for the business, which saw revenue increase 14 per cent to £22.5 million in the first half of 2012.

Morgan explained that for the last two years the Mission has been working to get itself out of the debt it built up during that “pickle”, figures show the Mission managed to reduce its net bank debt by £3.1 million to £12.3million in the first six months of 2012.

He continued: “we’ve done a lot with that [the debt] now and that’s why we’re now starting to get a little bit more adventurous in acquisitions but that’s not going to say we’re going to risk our business by making an acquisition in loss.” Morgan added that being an AIM listed company meant the Mission had to be more “risk averse” in its acquisitions.

When asked about what 2013 held for the Mission Morgan again drew on his revelation that the Mission is already in early talks with other agencies. He explained that being AIM listed restricted what he could say at this time but added: “I can say on a personal level our policy remains we are risk averse, but we are trying to grow and improve the quality of our business, two months ago we’d identified probably about half a dozen agencies that we like and that would fit nicely with us.

“We’ve done two acquisitions as you know, and there is probably one or two more that we will do in the next three months.”

Morgan concluded that, “without being complacent the Mission is in good shape, we came through a difficult period but there is still a long way to go.”

Undefined

Content created with:

The Mission Marketing Group

Find out more

Addiction Worldwide

Find out more

balloon dog

Find out more

More from Undefined

View all

Trending

Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +