Media Fortune Fame & Folly

Ascential buys and sells

Ascential Plc, the UK-based B2B information and events company, is to add Hangzhou Duozhun Data to its e-commerce analytics business in China. The company brings its X Target brand which offers consumer targeting, media execution and content strategy to add to Ascential’s existing Flywheel property which has the same remit in western markets.

Ascential is paying an initial £12m with a further £20m earnout potential. X Target had £4.6m of revenue in 2019 (£0.9m profit).

In Brazil, Ascential has acquired Intellibrand which provides e-commerce analytics across Latin America, notably in food service which is a fast growing market with clients such as Just Eat and Uber Eats.

In the same week, the £1.5bn-value Ascential has agreed to divest the Glenigan building leads service to Byggfakta group for £73m cash. Ascential has described Glenigan as non-core. In 2019, it made £5.3m of EBITDA on revenue of £12.2m.

The deal represents a significant return on Ascential’s investment in the property which it bought (through its earlier incarnation as Emap) from Thomson for £17.7m back in 1996. Glenigan is about one-third of the Ascential “built environment and policy” segment which it is seeking to divest as “non core” – despite the fact that, at 47%, it has the highest EBITDA margins. The other businesses, Groundsure and DeHavilland, are expected to be sold early in 2021.

The listed Ascential is predicted to report revenue of some £300m for 2020 (25% down) and EBITDA of £40m (£60m). The resumption of the Money 20/20 and Cannes Lions events are expected in 2021.