First Artist to stage US deal

A London-based media, events and entertainment group that has helped promote West End shows, such as Mamma Mia!, The Lion King and The Sound of Music, is on the verge of expanding its operations across the Atlantic.


A London-based media, events and entertainment group that has helped promote West End shows, such as Mamma Mia!, The Lion King and The Sound of Music, is on the verge of expanding its operations across the Atlantic.

A London-based media, events and entertainment group that has helped promote West End shows, such as Mamma Mia!, The Lion King and The Sound of Music, is on the verge of expanding its operations across the Atlantic.

First Artist Corporation Plc is set to spearhead campaigns for shows on Broadway in New York after agreeing to buy entertainment advertising agency SportCo of Manhattan.

The reverse takeover could be worth more than $18 million (£9.3 million) in cash if financial targets are achieved. On completion, $5.5 million is due followed by $1.5 million to be paid in each of the next three years.

Further payments will be made depending on the acquired business’ performance with Allied Irish Bank agreeing to fund the deal.

SpotCo complements First Artist’s full-service agency, Dewynters, which provides marketing, design, advertising, promotions, digital media services, publishing and merchandising to the UK’s entertainment industry.

The two agencies have collaborated on several projects in the past decade, and will continue to work independently under their existing brands.

First Artist chief executive Jon Smith said the deal is part of the company’s plan to become a leading integrated media, events and entertainment group.

SpotCo was founded in 1997 by Drew Hodges, its president and chief executive, who remains with the business, together with his executive team.

Hodges said: “Live entertainment marketing and brand development is becoming increasingly international, demanding highly innovative solutions to entice many different audiences. Working with Dewynters, we can both produce even more groundbreaking work, and grow the dynamic creative spirit our teams are known for, whilst creating a consistency of image in any market, all of which benefits our clients tremendously.”

SpotCo’s first theatre campaign was for the musical Rent and today its live entertainment advertising agency work spans half the shows on Broadway. It is currently working on DreamWorks Theatrical’s first musical, Shrek; an adaptation of 9 to 5 and a stage version of the film Priscilla Queen of the Desert as well as a revival of West Side Story. In addition to theatre, SpotCo’s work includes film and cable television, publishing and music.

Marc Barber

Raven Connelly

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.

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