Media Fortune Fame & Folly

Ascential deeper into commerce

Ascential plc, the UK-based business information and events company, has acquired a 51% stake in ASR Group Holdings LLC, “a digital content optimisation business”, for $122m in cash. It also has an option to acquire two further 24.5% stakes in the company based on a pre-determined EBITDA multiple during 2022-25.

In the year ended December 2020, the Ohio-based ASR had EBITDA of $9.1m, which had grown to $13.6m for the 12 month period ended 31 May 2021.

The £1.7bn Ascential has seen its share price jump by some 40% in the past 12 months as investors come to terms with what may be the systemic reduction of the major events Money 20/20 and Cannes Lions – but the compensating rapid growth of profits from e-commerce analytics. The company’s stated determination to secure its “global leadership position as the digital commerce optimisation platform of choice” may yet lead to more substantial acquisitions – and, eventually, to divestment of its marketing and financial information and events.