Electric Business

A brief summary of business news to keep you informed on company start-ups, corporate downsizing and mergers and acquisitions.

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US furniture firm Steelcase buys Orangebox

US office furniture firm Steelcase has acquired UK business Orangebox for up to £63m. Orangebox specialises in the creation of ‘alternative furniture’ for the workplace. The deal broadens the span of postures Steelcase’s portfolio can accommodate, as well as the range between private and open office set-ups. Orangebox employs over 400 people and recorded turnover of £61.3m in 2017.

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Vonage to buy cloud contact centre startup for $350m

Communications firm Vonage has agreed to buy contact centre solutions provider NewVoiceMedia for $350m. The acquisition combines with Vonage’s unified communications (UCaaS) and communications platform (CPaaS) capabilities to create an end-to-end cloud communications service with a focus on mid-market and enterprise customers.

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DC Thomson buys magazine publisher Aceville

DC Thomson Media has bought Aceville Publications, a publishing house based in Colchester. Headquartered in Dundee, DC Thomson Media has been publishing for over 100 years and has a portfolio of over 20 magazines, including The Beano. The acquisition adds over 40 titles to its list, including craft, food, gardening and health brands.

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Prager Metis expands UK presence

Accounting and advisory firm Prager Metis International has acquired the media and entertainment business of UK accountancy and taxation practice Ling Phipp. The deal sees Ling Phipp partner Paul Turner join the US firm.

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Adobe to buy Marketo for $4.75bn

Adobe has agreed to acquire Marketo, a market-leading cloud platform for B2B marketing engagement, for $4.75bn (£3.61bn). With nearly 5,000 customers, Marketo provides planning, engagement and measurement capabilities in one integrated platform. It will combine with Adobe Experience Cloud to help rejuvenate Adobe’s CX software offering and deepen its move into cloud and subscription-based services. The addition is a boost for Adobe’s automation capabilities in particular, bringing it closer to competing with the likes of Oracle and Salesforce.

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American investors buy Dagenham & Redbridge FC

A consortium of American investors has acquired a majority stake in Dagenham & Redbridge FC. Victoria Road Football, led by Peter Freund and Craig Unger and with input from former Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard, has secured a 58% stake in the club. The outfit already has experience launching the US second division soccer team Memphis 901 FC.

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Global creates outdoor ads proposition with double acquisition

British broadcasting business Global has completed a double swoop for Outdoor Plus and Primesight. The deal sees the creation of Global Outdoor, Global’s entry into the out of home (OOH) advertising sector. Outdoor Plus has developed some of the highest profile digital advertising sites in the UK, in London especially. Founded by Jonathan Lewis in 2006, it has over 100 premium sites across the UK including a network of digital bridges in partnership with TfL. Primesight meanwhile has an advertising estate of more than 35,000 sites nationwide including roadside billboards and display panels.

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Comcast beats Fox in battle for Sky

The bidding war for Sky has finally ended with Comcast offering over £30bn for the media firm. Rupert Murdoch’s Fox had been set to buy the shares in Sky it didn’t already own until Comcast topped its offer in February. The battle concluded this month with a blind auction set up by the UK’s Takeover Panel, which resulted in Sky’s directors unanimously recommending the Comcast offer to shareholders. The final deal represents a 125% premium on Sky’s value before Fox’s initial bid nearly two years ago.

Comcast is a US international media and telecommunications giant which owns cable TV company NBCUniversal as well as film giant Universal Pictures. Comcast will use the deal as a platform for expansion in Europe, increasing international revenues from 9% to 25%. Sky has a total of 23 million paying subscribers in Europe, meaning Comcast will provide TV services to 52 million customers in the US, UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria with this deal. Earlier this year, Sky won the lion’s share of Premier League TV rights for the football seasons between 2019 and 2022.

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Siemens acquires Lightwork Design

Siemens has agreed to acquire Lightwork Design, a computer software and technology licensing company based in Sheffield. The deal will boost Siemens PLM Software business with enhanced 3D data visualisation, high-end rendering and VR capabilities. Siemens’ product lifecycle management components are already integrated into 350 commercial applications by more than 240 companies, with a reach of some six million end users.

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Lookers buys Jennings Motor Group

National automotive retailer Lookers has acquired Jennings Motor Group, a car seller with a strong presence across the North East. Jennings was one of the first UK dealerships to sell Ford cars, with other brands in its portfolio including Kia, Mazda and Seat. The deal builds on Lookers’ acquisition of 30 outlets across the North of England and Scotland when it bought Benfield Motor Group in 2015.

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