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Amaze has agreed to be acquired by St Ives plc.

03 Aug 2015

Amaze is a leading independent digital agency and digital business solutions provider with expertise across eCommerce, mobile and social media.

Situation

Founded in 1995 Amaze is a leading full-service digital marketing and technology company, delivering highly complex global marketing solutions for blue-chip global brands.

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.

In Marketing’s 2012 Digital League Table it is listed as the UK’s no.1 independent agency, no.4 eCommerce agency and no.5 mobile agency. In 2012 Amaze delivered a strong financial performance with 15% top line growth and EBIT before Hasgrove management charges of £1.7m.

In December 2012 following a highly competitive pitch process Amaze was appointed by ASICS as its strategic digital adviser and is leading a consortium to deliver a global eCommerce solution in partnership with neoworks and hybris. Other significant client wins in 2012 include Bupa, Teva and Zurich.

Owned by Hasgrove plc (AIM:HGV), Amaze has its headquarters in London, employs approximately 200 staff and delivers solutions spanning 104 countries in 28 languages.

Opportunity

Amaze has built a strong position in digital business solutions and gained real momentum in the market. However, in order to take the business forward, build on this momentum and accelerate growth, it needed a strategic partner with the ability to increase investment in the business and take full advantage of opportunities in areas such as eCommerce and mobile.

On the back of M&A market conditions Hasgrove decided it was the right time to realise its investment in Amaze and Results International was appointed to find the best partner to support the next growth phase of Amaze.

Outcome

During a competitive process the quality of Amaze’s service proposition, management team and growth potential was reflected in a high level of interest from potential partners. Subsequently Hasgrove chose St Ives plc as its preferred partner.

St. Ives will pay £15.3 million for Amaze on a cash and debt free basis, with further consideration of up to £9.7 million dependent on Amaze’s financial performance for the current financial year. The transaction remains subject to Hasgrove shareholder approval. Amaze achieved an EBIT before management charges of £1.7 million in the financial year ending 31 December 2012.

Becoming part of the St Ives Group will provide Amaze with the support and investment it needs to accelerate its growth and expand into new territories. The partnership will also allow Amaze to work alongside other marketing and consulting disciplines within the St Ives Group and in turn significantly enhance St Ives’ digital business solutions capabilities.

Comments on the transaction from Paul Sanders, Group CEO – Hasgrove plc

Why did you choose Results?

We had a relationship with Andy Collins at Results going back a number of years. More often than not when there was a transaction in our space, Results were involved. We were also impressed with the wider RI team, particularly Julie Langley and David Copp, and the chemistry worked from when we first met.

Did Results live up to your expectations throughout the transaction?

Yes, from the initial preparation and positioning of the business through to the deal negotiation, due diligence and documentation Results exceeded our expectations.

Where did Results add value to the sale process?

Their knowledge of the sector and understanding how to position Amaze for the various buyer constituents was key in the preparation phase and the identification of a buyer that we hadn’t considered was invaluable. These insights enabled us to maximise the value of Amaze and ensure a quick and efficient process.

Would you use Results again?

Yes.

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