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Ascential reports growth for Cannes Lions and Money 20/20

Global information, data and events company Ascential plc’s interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2019, point to strong strategic progress and organic growth in revenue and profit.

The company reported strong progress against four key priorities for 2019, indentified as:

  • A focus on execution: extend market leadership of digital information products and establish strategic client programme
  • The integration of Edge, the advisory and data service
  • Returning Marketing segment to growth after successful reset of Cannes Lions and MediaLink in 2018
  • Rollout of One Ascential Operating Model.

The interim results also record a segmental performance in line with expectations and revenues up 9% in product design and a successful launch of WGSN Beauty.

In marketing there was a return to growth with revenues up 13%, driven by double digit growth in both Cannes Lions and MediaLink.

Sales produced organic growth of 3% (proforma 11%), including good overall growth in Money20/20.

Financial highlights of the report include:

  • Strong revenue growth to £236.2m (2018: £188.9m)
  • Reported growth of 25%
  • Growth of 8.7% on an organic basis, 11.0% on a proforma basis
  • Strong Adjusted EBITDA growth to £76.7m (2018: £63.3m)
  • Reported operating profit of £36m up 23.3% (2018: £29.2m)

There was also strong growth in earnings per share and good cash generation reported.

The interim dividend was set at 1.8p (2018: 1.9p) with the prior year benefiting from earnings from discontinued operations.

CEO Duncan Painter (pictured), commented: “In the first six months of the year Ascential has made considerable progress against our four key goals for 2019: focus on execution; integration of Edge; returning our Marketing segment to growth; and rolling out our One Ascential Operating Model across Ascential. 

“This operational progress, together with the acceleration of WGSN, the excellent performance of Flywheel and good growth at Money20/20, give the Board confidence in our overall 2019 performance and our medium-term target to achieve double-digit growth.”

The company also reported a 35% strategic investment in Jumpshot Inc, the marketing analytics subsidiary of Avast plc, a global cybersecurity provider. , Subject to certain conditions, and no sooner than January 2021, Ascential also has an option to take a majority ownership position in Jumpshot.

Jumpshot specialises in marketing analytics and Ascential believes its customer base and global footprint will provide a valuable platform for Jumpshot’s future growth while Jumpshot’s products will allow Ascential, through Edge by Ascential, to develop valuable new products for its customers. 

Jumpshot was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in San Francisco with offices in the Czech Republic, New York and London.  Deren Baker, CEO of Jumpshot, will continue to lead the company.  The gross assets of Jumpshot at 31 December 2018 were US$12.5m. 

The consideration for 35% of the existing share capital amounts to $60.8m.  The remaining 65% of Jumpshot shares will continue to be held by its current shareholders (Avast and employees of Jumpshot).