Ebiquity (LON:EBQ), the media and marketing analytics business headed by advertising guru Michael Greenlees, has moved into the Italian market with a deal to buy a 51% stake in Media Advisor, a privately held independent media consultancy based in Milan. The AIM listed group has also upped its holding in Billetts Germany to 51%, consolidating its presence in Germany where earlier this year it acquired full ownership of Thomson Media Control.

Ebiquity provides services to 70% of the top 100 UK advertisers and represents over 400 clients in up to 40 countries. The company said the latest two deals formed part of the expansion of its international footprint, adding to its geographic reach and widening its service. They follow the group’s acquisition of Xtreme Information in April 2010, which is a major player in international advertising monitoring with a footprint in over 60 countries. In April, Ebiquity also acquired the business of Excellence Media, a privately held independent media consultancy based in Paris. That company will be re-branded Billetts France and become part of the rapidly growing Billetts International network. Billetts International provides marketing and media benchmarking and analytics services to global advertisers and is the European leader in media auditing.

Michael Greenlees said: “We are continuing to grow our network of offices to service our enhanced international product offering in marketing and media effectiveness and efficiency. Media Advisor is a high-quality business, which combined with our existing clients, will take market-leadership in the media auditing and consultancy market in Italy. Meanwhile, our business in Germany is growing as a result of organic growth and our acquisition of Xtreme Germany and the outstanding 50% of Thomson Media Control, and we are delighted to consolidate our shareholding in this critical market.”

March’s acquisition of Xtreme cost Ebiquity £17.9m, mostly in shares and just £0.8m in cash. The deal was enough to send the company’s share price soaring from 56p to 72p, although the price has since declined and remained unmoved today at 61.5p. In the six months to October 31, 2009 the company posted an 8% rise in sales to £9.3m and a pre-tax profit of £0.2m.

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