Britain's ICM group of companies has been acquired by Creston PLC, already the owner of MR agencies Marketing Sciences, CML and MSTS, for a maximum consideration of £37.2 million. The group includes ICM Research, ICM Direct and Fieldwork UK.
Although operating in a broad range of sectors, ICM is known to the British public as the long-time political pollster for the Guardian newspaper. The sale follows those of fellow big name pollsters NOP and MORI in the last 12 months.
The ICM Group is divided into sector teams including Technology, Retail and Financial, and product teams such as Polling, Omnibus and Government and Social. ICM Direct provides telephone fieldwork, on-line fieldwork and data processing while Fieldwork UK provides a dedicated face-to-face fieldwork service.
The £37.2m is made up of c.£19.4m in cash and shares payable to the ICM Vendors and senior management team on Completion, a deferred closing payment of just over £1.1m and a deferred consideration of up to c.£16.7m payable to the ICM Vendors in March 2009. ICM had a turnover of £14.0m and pre tax profits of £2.48m for the year ended 30 June 2005.
Creston Plc was established in January 2001 and comprises seven existing marketing services businesses in four divisions: INSIGHT, for quant and qual research; BRANDCOM for brand building and communication; MARCOMS for activation and generation of sales push communication and PUBLIC RELATIONS.
The non-MR Creston companies are marcoms and CRM firm The Real Adventure, channel marketer EMO, PR agency Nelson Bostock, advertising firm DLKW and healthcare PR specialist Red Door. DM company Tullo Marshall Warren will join Creston at the same time as ICM.
Creston aims 'to build a diversified marketing services group through a combination of organic growth and selective acquisitions'. The ICM buy is expected to 'create critical mass' for its Insight Division.
Creston CEO Don Elgie welcomes ICM's 'proven track record over many years' and says it will 'continue to operate autonomously, whilst benefiting from the cross-selling opportunities that exist within the Group, together with gaining access to all the resources they need…'
ICM MD Nick Sparrow comments: 'In Creston we feel we have found an owner who is as keen as we are to see ICM grow and prosper and will act with us in the best interests of the company and all the people who work here. We believe that joining the Creston group will open an exciting new chapter in the development of ICM, giving us the opportunity to take the company to the next level and the staff at ICM are all very enthusiastic about the opportunities it will offer us to grow ICM still further.'
The companies are online at www.creston.com and www.icmresearch.co.uk .