When Two Become One

Sadie Groom, Managing Director

Every sector that Bubble works in experiences mergers and acquisitions from time to time; indeed, it is part of everyday life, with even two of the UK’s main brand supermarkets up to it. In my 20-odd year career I have worked on the PR for many acquisitions, and advised companies on what to do from a branding and marketing perspective. (I will never forget one of my old bosses telling me that an acquisition takes two years to settle in – well, in this dynamic, fast moving world I am not sure that anyone has the time for two years’ adjustment!)

As we approach another IBC, we may well see more large brand consolidations; the show will also co-host a new ‘speed dating’ event that will match start-up and scale-up businesses with media organisations and investors, with the aim of establishing partnerships and acquisitions. 

Even if you aren’t buying or selling at the moment, you never know when your company or a close partner/customer might be involved in M&A. Here are some top tips for making the process a success – for both sides.

Acquisitions are exciting, they get the blood pumping and you know that you are going to get a lot of attention when you send the news out. My top tip here (apart from building disco naps into your day to help with the tiredness) is to find a way to keep the excitement going within your team once the news has all died down. This is when the hard work really starts, so you could celebrate the ‘one month anniversary’ since you came together with a piece of cake for both sides of the party. It’s a bit like weddings reminding you of why you fell in love. 

When you acquire a company you need to be sure that you have people in place to support the new business you have gained. Getting the right talent in the right place is crucial for that post-acquisition period to make it as smooth and quick as possible, so start your search early for the people you may need. If possible, maintain good relations with the previous owner as they will be able to provide invaluable advice and institutional memory. 

Knowing all of the details of the acquisition is crucial for both sides; even though the legal documents can be enough to put you to sleep it is important to understand the key elements of the deal – what assets did it include, how long is your earn-out if you have one, what restrictions are there, are there any stakeholders that need to remain involved? It is worth having a crib sheet of these important things, and also to make sure all levels of the organisations know the parts that are relevant to them. 

Whether you have been acquired or you are the acquirer, you will have new audiences to deal with and you need to make friends quickly. This needs to be very much part of the plan; when people start asking questions, as they tend to do on social media these days, you need to be able to answer them – honestly and quickly. 

This is just a snapshot of advice and lessons that we have learnt over the years. Let’s see what M&A takes place in the next few months and how it all plays out. 

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A Few Kind Words...

Meg Travis, Iron Mountain Entertainment Services, Director, Global Head of Marketing & Communications, Entertainment Services

The Bubble team made everything easy at MPTS! From advising before the show, to facilitating client and press conversations during the show, to making recommendations on how to make the most of the connections we made there - we rely on Bubble as a key strategic partner for our sales and marketing teams.

Dan Pike- Covatic

Bubble brought their significant experience of NAB to support Covatic in kicking off a big US push at the Show. Their support was holistic, assisting us before, during and after the show and well appreciated. We had a successful show, gaining high profile new sales leads and even winning a Product of the Year Award - thanks in no small part to Bubble’s assistance with the application An experienced, credible team and a joy to work with.

Éva Szász – Lightware Visual Engineering

We’ve been working with Bubble for a couple of months now and luckily we found a common voice right away. They always have an easy, quick understanding of what we need and are delivering not only the materials we want, but more and more PR opportunities, in a proactive way. Bubble have been instrumental in raising awareness of Lightware in the run up to ISE and did a great job faciliting us onsite at ISE too including securing and conducting press appointments and manning our social accounts.

Paul Weiser – ASG

I have been working with Bubble for the past eight months. I run marketing for Advanced Systems Group based in Northern California. ASG is a technology company focused on providing technology solutions for the Media and Entertainment industry. Our business is broken down into four diverse areas. One of the challenges that Bubble helps me solve is how to market a company with multiple business units, yet still deliver a unified message for our brand. The key benefits that Bubble provides in helping guide our marketing efforts include: Industry knowledge, Expertise in all functional areas of marketing, Client service & Worldwide brand. The first year of working with Bubble has been a great experience. I’m excited to work with the team to see how we build the ASG brand in the future.

Catherine Watling – Visual Data

The Bubble team have been fantastic and the quality of the work is always exceptional – even at short notice. Our work with Bubble has produced some of the best coverage we have ever had!

Mark Forth – CVP

Working with Bubble has been integral to a rapid improvement in the delivery of our PR and communication strategy. The entire Bubble team are always friendly and professional as well as knowledgeable and well-connected. A real joy to work with!

Nik Forman – Masstech

Bubble are a great bunch to have on your team. The whole staff combine high degrees of professionalism and diligence with an impressive depth of industry knowledge and reach, all delivered with huge fun and energy.

Tom Rockhill – Disguise

Since working with Bubble, we have been able to target key industries and sectors in a much more strategic way, which has been instrumental the growth of our business. Bubble is an invaluable part of our team and is really helping us to drive our business presence forward both through PR and at trade shows.

Charlotte Wheeler – The Media Production and Technology Show

Bubble Agency has worked with The Media Production Show for the last few years to provide exhibitor PR to clients and show PR to the wider industry press. We have always been impressed with their professionalism, the ability to tun around requests quickly and run our PR Lounge to a high standard during the show.

Robert Lisman – Primestream

Bubble Agency is made up of hardworking, passionate and caring professionals. They have great knowledge of the PR world, true specialists in the broadcast and video industry and they always have great ideas to increase our exposure.