Next 15 acquires creative agency ODD and raises £4m for further acquisitions

London-listed marcoms group Next Fifteen has acquired independent creative agency ODD Communications and is promising further acquisitions and investments, after raising £7.8m through a share issue.

(Credit: epSos .de via Flickr)
(Credit: epSos .de via Flickr)

On Tuesday, Next Fifteen – which employs 1,250 people across 35 offices in 18 countries including at the PR firms Bite, Lexis and The Blueshirt Group – said it was on the brink of acquiring a UK digital agency.

It has today confirmed the acquisition of ODD, which specialises in consumer-facing comms for fashion and lifestyle brands, with clients including Primark, Dr Martens and Eastpak.

A Next Fifteen statement said: "The company believes that, as a result of the acquisition, there are growth opportunities within the group through expansion into the US and further collaboration with the group's consumer brand clients."

A separate statement confirmed that the group has placed an additional 3.4 million shares in the firm with existing shareholders and new institutional investors, raising net proceeds of approximately £7.8m ($11.8m).

With a £3.74m initial cash payment made to acquire ODD, this leaves the group with an additional £4m, with the statement saying this money will "enable the group to pursue certain other specific investment and acquisition opportunities and to otherwise strengthen its balance sheet and provide financial flexibility".

It goes on to say: "The pipeline of opportunities includes technology investments and digital agency acquisitions, in both the United Kingdom and the United States, identified by the company; some of which are expected to close in the next six months."

This follows a number of acquisitions made in the first half of the year.

That statement also included a trading update that said the group had experienced "an encouraging start to the second half of its financial year", with new client wins including Paypal, PwC and Tinder. The group's financial year ends on 31 January.

Group chief executive Tim Dyson said: "Next 15 believes that marketing is a technology-driven activity. As such we are keen to invest in businesses that are delivering technology-enabled marketing solutions to clients. ODD’s ability to deliver digital campaigns in the fashion and lifestyle markets not only demonstrates its ability to see how technology can be used to solve marketing challenges but also its domain expertise in these specialist industries."

Simon Glover, one of the founders of ODD, said: "As ODD continues to grow, we see the partnership with Next 15 as an exciting step in the development of both UK and international business opportunities, notably in the US."

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