Next Fifteen 'not averse' to sale despite investment

Company 'does not expect returns' from investment in digital venture for up to 18 months.

Upbeat trading update: Tim Dyson
Upbeat trading update: Tim Dyson

The long-term investment in Project Metal does not mean Next Fifteen is 'averse' to being acquired, CEO Tim Dyson has revealed to PRWeek.

Last year, Next Fifteen - which owns Text 100, Bite and Lexis - rebuffed takeover approaches from Huntsworth Group and Chime Communications.

Despite describing these attempts as 'slightly speculative', Dyson admitted that he could not rule out a possible sale of the company.

'We're not averse to being bought,' he said. 'But it remains to be seen for someone to put the right offer on the table. It has to be attractive to the people who run our agencies and to our shareholders.'

Dyson's comments came as Next Fifteen delivered a relatively upbeat trading update. Profits for the first half of the company's fiscal year are expected to be 'comfortably' ahead of the same period last year.

However, Dyson pointed out that the company's continuing investment in new products demonstrated that it was not being positioned for a sale. Last year, Next Fifteen acquired US agency M:Booth and Asian shop Upstream.

'Project Metal is also a big investment on our part,' said Dyson. 'I don't expect us to see returns from that for another 12 to 18 months.'

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