Hotwire buys UK b2b sales and marketing agency

Hotwire has acquired McDonald Butler Associates (MBA), the UK-based b2b sales and marketing agency, for £3.5m.

Hotwire's Tara O’Donnell (left) with MBA founders Mike Butler and Maeve McDonald
Hotwire's Tara O’Donnell (left) with MBA founders Mike Butler and Maeve McDonald

The acquisition takes the combined workforce to more than 100 in the UK and more than 300 globally. MBA's 30-strong team will move into Hotwire's office when it reopens.

MBA founders Maeve McDonald and Mike Butler will take on UK roles of managing consultant account based marketing, and managing consultant marketing, respectively. They will report to Tara O’Donnell, UK MD and global leadership team member.

Hotwire said the investment gives its clients access to new skills and services including account-based marketing, industry marketing and channel and alliances programmes, while MBA's clients will have access to Hotwire's services such as brand development, media relations, corporate communications and content and social media marketing.

Launched in 2005, MBA's clients includes Accenture, AWS, Deloitte, DXC Technology, Honeywell, IBM, Pegasystems, and PWC. The agency has some of the same clients as Hotwire, including Adobe, Citrix, and Dell Technologies.

Hotwire said other synergies between the two include a strong tech customer base and a heavy investment in insights, strategy, and creative teams for integrated communications programmes.

“Tech CMOs are under pressure to deliver immediate results today and continue building the brand for the future,” said Barbara Bates, Hotwire global CEO. “By adding MBA’s extensive account-based marketing and channel marketing experience, Hotwire will deliver a new level of communications programmes designed to build brand reputation, strengthen stakeholder relationships and deliver revenue growth.”

McDonald said: "This is an extremely exciting opportunity for both MBA’s clients and our team. Both MBA and Hotwire have been dedicated to helping technology companies solve their most pressing business and communications challenges. Now we have a great opportunity to offer a wider range of communications, lead generation, and digital marketing services to our clients globally.”

Hotwire said the investment came from its parent company Enero Group, whose CEO Brent Scrimshaw said: “The acquisition of MBA reflects not only the Group’s strong momentum and ambition but our commitment to deliver on our global strategy of building scale and additional digital capabilities of our core agency brands. Hotwire is already one of the world’s most highly-regarded tech specialist communication businesses and we have no doubt that adding MBA’s specific sales and marketing expertise and complimentary client roster, will unlock new possibilities of growth.”

In addition to the £3.5m purchase price, deferred payments tied to performance targets will be paid over the next three and a half years. Enero expects the acquisition to grow its earnings per share over the next 12 months.

UK revenue at Hotwire fell five per cent in 2020 to £8.4m in 2020, where it has 73 staff, according to the latest PRWeek UK Top 150 Consultancies table. Global revenue at the agency rose two per cent in 2020 to $41.7m.

Enero becomes the second marcomms holding company to acquire a UK-based b2b agency in recent months, after Publicis Groupe snapped up Octopus in February.

This article was updated on Tuesday morning with more details of the deal

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