Creston buys Nelson Bostock in £10m deal

Marketing services group Creston has acquired Nelson Bostock Communications in a £10.7m deal, as it bids to create a network of PR firms.

Creston CEO Don Elgie confirmed he hoped that Nelson Bostock would be the first of a number of acquisitions aimed at creating this network.

‘Nelson Bostock will be our lead agency in terms of identifying other opportunities in this country and abroad… I am very keen to build an international network,’ he said.

The agency last year had a turnover of £5.2m, with 50 staff. As part of the deal, almost 19 per cent of an additional £4m has been earmarked for non-shareholding staff. The deal, which includes an initial consideration of £5.25m, values the agency at a maximum of £10.7m, should earnout targets be met in three and a half years.

Also, Nelson Bostock co-founders Roger Nelson and Martin Bostock will be retained at the firm until at least March 2007.

Creston made a £4.5m share placing to finance the Nelson Bostock deal, which was reported to be two-times oversubscribed. Creston’s move into PR was welcomed by the stock market as its shares rose 3p to 95.5p on the back of the announcement.

Creston Group includes market research agency Marketing Sciences, direct marketing firm The Real Adventure and specialist channel marketing agency EMO.

Elgie said future PR acquisitions would be financed through a combination of similar placements and bank borrowing.

Nelson Bostock, which was founded in 1987, was ranked 25th in PRWeek’s Top 150 2003 (PRWeek, 25 April), with fee income of £3,636,480, showing virtually flat growth on the previous year.

Recent client wins have included a consumer brief for beds superstore Dreams and consumer and media relations work for the BBC-backed digital TV service Freeview.

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