AIM quoted media analytics business Ebiquity (LON:EBQ) is set to pay up to £10.0m to buy Echo Research, an international reputation analysis, media measurement and stakeholder research specialist with offices in London, New York, Paris and Singapore. The deal is being funded with a combination of new debt facilities and the proceeds of a share placing priced at 90p per share that raised £2.6 million. Separately, Ebiquity reported that trading in the second half of the financial year ended 30 April 2011 had continued to be strong, with a particularly good performance in the US, and that it would be “comfortably in line” with market expectations for the financial year. Shares in Ebiquity rose by 1.5p to 93.5p.

Echo’s business focuses on brand reputation and stakeholder insights, as well as analysis of non-paid media, including social media. Sandra Macleod, the company’s founder, will remain as chief executive of the Echo business, which counts over 60 global blue chip companies among its clients. Ebiquity said the deal would mean it could offer its existing clients industry leading analysis and advice that will compliment its current analytics and insight offerings and deliver a comprehensive, global and in depth understanding of the evolving media landscape. “Non-paid, “earned” and, in particular, social media, are playing an increasingly vital role in how brands, businesses and management teams are perceived. The lines between paid and non-paid media are also rapidly blurring as brand owners exploit digital channels in ever more inventive ways to influence consumer perceptions, often in support of more traditional paid media activity.

Ebiquity is buying Echo’s holding company TCRG Holdings Ltd for an initial consideration of £3.5 million with a maximum aggregate consideration of up to £10.0 million, conditional on the business achieving certain demanding growth targets over the next two years. It said the acquisition would be materially earnings enhancing in the first full financial year following completion and the realisation of identified synergies. Echo’s turnover for the year ended 31 March 2011 was £5.0m and it generated an operating profit before highlighted items of £0.5m.

Michael Greenlees, the chief executive of Ebiquity, said: “The directors believe the acquisition of Echo will further establish our global leadership in marketing analytics and insight and will deepen our presence in the rapidly growing non-paid media market. With social media becoming a larger and ever…

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