Applied sells PR division to Next Fifteen

LONDON and SAN FRANCISO: In one of the most significant technology PR M&A transaction since the sector was hit by a massive downturn two years ago, tech-focused Applied Communications has sold its PR division to London-based Next Fifteen Communications Group in a deal valued at between $1.5 million and $2 million payable in cash over three years.

LONDON and SAN FRANCISO: In one of the most significant technology PR M&A transaction since the sector was hit by a massive downturn two years ago, tech-focused Applied Communications has sold its PR division to London-based Next Fifteen Communications Group in a deal valued at between $1.5 million and $2 million payable in cash over three years.

The final payout will be subject to certain performance criteria. Next Fifteen said it intends to merge Applied's PR operations with that of its US PR subsidiary, Bite Communications. Next Fifteen said it expects the newly formed agency will generate $14 million in revenue and will have more than 100 employees and 55 clients around the globe. Clive Armitage, CEO of Bite Communications Group, plans to relocate from London to San Francisco to oversee the company. Alan Kelly, Applied's Founder and CEO, will stay on as a consultant through the end of 2003, but does not appear to have a prominent role in the new firm. The company expects the transaction will be completed within 30 days. According to the PRWeek/Council of Public Relations Firm's annual rankings, Applied Communications posted global revenue of $10.3 million in 2002, while Bite posted revenue of $7.5 million. Applied's research division will continue to operate as an independent firm under the name Applied Communications Group. In a release, Next Fifteen CEO Tim Dyson, said, "This is a rare opportunity to marry the international growth ambitions we have for Bite with Applied's decision to refocus its operations away from traditional PR. Applied is an organization with a great reputation, top-notch consultants, and a prestigious client list. The blending of Applied with Bite, offers our combined clients and staff access to the resources of a larger agency and group, and allows us to further expand our service offerings, such as Bullet and Soundbite."

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