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SI Partners advises BLM Holdings on acquisition by leading advertising group Arena Media (Havas)


Marketing Communications


Sell Side


January 2008


Havas, one of the world’s leading advertising groups, announced a further expansion of its UK operations with the acquisition of BLM, the market’s number one independent media agency.

The transaction forms part of Havas’ strategy to consolidate growth in core mature markets and build on the success of its UK brands, which have seen a turnaround over the past three years.  The global arm of Havas, will benefit from both BLM’s management team and its attractive UK client base, where BLM has long term relationships with companies such as Dolland & Aitchison, Domino’s Pizza, Setanta Sports, Paul Smith, Young Seafoods and Suzuki. Havas also sees strong potential in BLM’s Quantum, the awardwinning integrated digital agency.

Under the terms of the transaction,  BLM will be combined with Arena Media Communications.  The combined business,  to be renamed Arena BLM, will almost double Havas’ media presence in the UK.  The enlarged operation, together with Media Contacts, gives a collective digital capacity that makes it the country’s second largest digital media group.  Arena BLM will be managed by Steve Booth, current BLM Chief Executive. Booth will report into Arena Global CEO, Joaquín Bohorquez.

"We are delighted with this significant acquisition. The BLM group has the style of operation  that fits with the culture and ambition of Arena.  The launch demonstrates our commitment to the UK as it strengthens the Group’s media offer in this key market for the benefit of its local and international clients."
Joaquín Bohorquez, Global CEO, Arena

"We are very excited about our future with Arena and the wider Havas Group.  We have been considering our growth options for some time and wanted to work with a company that shared  our philosophy and ambitions.  It is great news for our clients  and employees as this deal will give us more resource and also enable us to keep the BLM management team together. The Arena BLM brand is operational as from today."
Steve Booth, CEO, Arena BLM

About Arena BLM

Arena BLM is the new brand launched in 2008 following an investment from Arena Media Communications, part of Havas Media.  Founded in 1990 BLM is the only media agency to have won five IPA Advertising Effectiveness Awards.  In 2007 BLM Group had 115 employees, managing billings of £123 million.  Arena BLM has two offices, one in London and regional specialist, Arena BLMC, based in Bristol.  In 1998, it launched digital agency, BLM Quantum growing to be the UK’s second biggest independent digital agency.  In 2007 BLM Quantum was voted Digital Agency of the Year.  BLM  also comprises of BLM Azure, a specialist in the toy and kids sector that was launched in 2002.  In 2006 the company acquired Red Media, a media specialist focusing on the premium and luxury sector, to create BLM Red.  Arena BLM’s clients include: Bulgari, Character Options, The COI, Dolland & Aitchison, Domino’s Pizza, Setanta Sports Network, MBNA, Pathe Films, Paul Smith, Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, Suzuki, T-Mobile, TK Maxx and Young’s Seafoods.  Arena is Havas Media’s fastest growing tailor-made communications network and now operates in 8 markets: UK, Spain, Portugal, France, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Colombia.  In most markets established prior to 2008, Arena is ranked within the top five agencies.  Arena’s global client list include brands such as Santander, Movistar (Telefonica), Wal Mart, Bwin, Damm Group, Aero Mexico, Bebidas, Fox Channel, Paris, Bayer, Parmalat, Quala, Pritty Cola, Comunidad de Madrid (feria de artesania &Plan Fico, and Cetelem) and Mitsubishi.

About Havas Media

Havas Media is the global media network of Havas.   Havas Media represents one of the world’s fastest growing media networks, its agencies have grown from 10 Markets in 1999 to 102 markets in 2007. Havas Media services its clients through a portfolio of specialist global networks and agencies. This group is organised to maximise local market dynamics whilst leveraging the extensive global insight and strategic support within Havas Media. The range of companies within Havas Media include:  MPG (Havas Media’s global media network), Arena (Havas Media’s network for tailor-made communication services), Media Contacts (Havas Media’s global interactive network), Havas Sports (Havas Media’s global sports communication network) and B6 Integrated Entertainment (Havas Media’s branded entertainment network)

SI Partners also recently advised London-based independent advertising agency BMB on stake acquisition by Cheil Worldwide, read more about the transaction here.

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We are very excited about our future with Arena and the wider Havas Group. We have been considering our growth options for some time and wanted to work with a company that shared our philosophy and ambitions.

Steve Booth, CEO, Arena BLM