NEWS17 November 2016

DBAY Advisors buys Creston for £75.8m

M&A News UK

UK – Marketing communications group Creston, owner of ICM Unlimited and Marketing Sciences Unlimited, has announced it will be acquired by the Isle of Man-based asset management firm DBAY Advisors, in a cash deal worth £75.8m.


A newly incorporated company, RedWhiteBlue Digital Marketing Services (Bidco) will be formed, indirectly owned by DBAY, for the purchase which has to be agreed by shareholders. DBAY is already a minority shareholder with 28.05% of Creston shares.

Alex Paiusco, CEO of DBAY said: “We have been significant investors in Creston for over two years and are excited about this opportunity to help develop the business, alongside its management team and employees, and to fulfil its potential. The Acquisition is the culmination of our progressive interest in Creston and we are very pleased to have reached agreement with the Independent Creston Directors on an attractive cash proposal for Creston Shareholders.”

Under the terms of the acquisition, each Creston shareholder will be entitled to receive 126.42p in cash for each Creston share comprising of 125p in cash from Bidco and 1.42p from an interim dividend to be paid on 20 December.

The acquisition announcement came as Creston reported its half year results ending 30 September 2016. Revenue was relatively flat at £40m (compared with £40.3m in H1 2015 ) although pre-tax profit increased 13% to £4.5m (£4m in H1 2015 ).

Barrie Brien, group CEO, Creston said: “Despite the challenging economic and trading environment, the group’s headline profits grew 13% in the first half of the year. Creston has achieved steady progress in implementing its five-year strategy of growing the breadth of services to clients under the Unlimited offer and, as a result, our top 20 clients and international revenue have grown by 12% and 11% respectively.”

“As the business and our clients’ requirements continue to develop, and in light of uncertain market conditions, the Board of Creston has given careful thought about how best it pursues this strategy to deliver value for shareholders, clients and staff.

“As such, the Independent Directors of Creston consider that recommending this cash offer will provide most shareholders with the opportunity to realise value from their investment in cash at an attractive premium. It offers the business, with the support of DBAY Advisors, the ability to continue to grow the Unlimited Group as a private company, which we believe is in the best interests of our clients and staff.”