£1.8m acquisition of digital marketing agency

X The Business Desk

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XLMedia, a global digital performance publisher, has acquired Leeds-based BlueClaw Media Limited for a total consideration of up to £1.8m.

Founded in 2007, BlueClaw provides services ranging from search engine optimisation and pay per click management to digital PR and content marketing, with significant experience in the market verticals in which XLMedia operates.

XLMedia says it has been working with BlueClaw since December 2020, during which time the BlueClaw team has implemented new processes and systems which have improved both performance and traffic across a number of the Group’s sites.

The BlueClaw team has also developed a number of proprietary tools and systems that underpin its delivery track record.

The acquisition provides a UK hub for XLMedia’s European Sports business, in addition to high-quality talent and automated workflow capabilities, to drive consistent SEO operations and digital PR best practices which will be applied across the Group’s wider portfolio.

 For the remainder of this year BlueClaw will be working autonomously, with responsibility for XLMedia’s EU Sports business. After this, it will become a shared service function for both the Group’s owned and operated assets and agency partners. 

The acquisition will be funded through existing cash resources and is expected to be earnings accretive in the first full year of ownership.

XLMedia will pay £0.6m on completion, with an additional £0.6m at the end of year one. There will be a further £0.6m payable as earnouts, contingent on certain performance targets being met.

Fergus Clawson, owner and founder of the BlueClaw business, will remain with the business. 

In the 12 months to 30 November 2021, which was heavily impacted by COVID, the business had revenues of £1.1m and EBITDA of £100,000.

For the 12 months to 30 November 2022 the business is expected to contribute revenues of £1.6m and EBITDA of £400,000.

Stuart Simms, chief executive officer of XLMedia, said: “We are delighted to announce the acquisition of BlueClaw, which will see us bring this hugely talented team into the XLM family.

“Having worked closely with them for over 12 months, we’ve been able to experience first-hand the quality of their work and are hugely excited at the prospect of BlueClaw’s expertise being rolled out across our broader portfolio.

 “Today’s announcement further demonstrates our commitment to rebalancing the business with the correct skills, people and technologies in order to create a sustainable platform capable of delivering long-term growth.”