AJF is the latest independent Australian creative agency to be acquired, this time in an interesting move that makes it part of a new company model that brings eight companies with complementary skills under one roof.
The agency was bought by GrowthOps, part of Trimantium, which issued its $70 million IPO on Friday. It describes itself as “an entrepreneurial partner and investor in organisations ready for high-growth”.
The other firms it snapped up are: 3wks, Digital Moshi, Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership, jtribe, KDIS, Khemistry and Voodoo Creative.
Their specialisms span management consultancy, cloud computing, digital and beyond and the model is designed to "facilitate the entrepreneurial process".
The new company says it is forecast to generate pro forma revenue of $61.3 million in 2018 and pro forma EBITDA of $14.3 million. It believes over 40% of its revenue for FY17 and 36% ($21 million) for FY18 will be attributable to AJF Partnership.
The Melbourne-based agency’s key people are named as its founders Andrew Foote, Adam Francis, Andrew Fabbro and ECD/partner Joshua Stevens. They become “significant shareholders” of GrowthOps, however, AJF partners take on different shareholder terms than the partners of the other seven firms.
The agency’s 112 people now become part of the group, but down the line the AJF name will give way to Trimantium.
In the IPO prospectus, non-exec chairman Dominique Fisher says:
“We are a company created by the merging of eight profitable businesses, founded by entrepreneurs (partners) who are focused on achieving revenue and market share growth for our clients. These businesses will transition over time to one brand, Trimantium GrowthOps, where they will each contribute a unique service as part of the GrowthOps end-to-end value proposition to clients. To that end, we have carefully selected the businesses to ensure alignment of purpose and relevance to the contemporary challenges facing our clients.
“Our Partners share an agile approach to problem solving, not just in developing software solutions, but in solving real business problems, operating across the converging sectors of management consulting, technology services and advertising and creative, which we define collectively as the business transformation services industry.
“GrowthOps differentiates itself from perceived peers by being significantly employee-owned, entrepreneurial and technology platform agnostic.”
GrowthOps was incorporated on 14 August 2017 and acquired all eight firms before the IPO.
According to the prospectus issued by the company, owners from each of the eight firms will receive 50% of the consideration for the sale of the relevant GrowthOps Business in cash and 50% in convertible redeemable preference shares issued by GrowthOps.
It follows the acquisition of The Works by RXP and The Monkeys becoming part of Accenture. AJF spun out its Sydney operations last year with Digby Richards and ECD Adam Rose buying back their operation and opening Richards Rose.
All eyes are now on The Hallway.
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