Adbrands Daily Update Archive

These news developments relate to companies not currently covered on Adbrands.

Adbrands Update 28th Jul 2022: In the long-running battle for Spirit Airlines, JetBlue has finally triumphed, following the withdrawal of original buyer Frontier yesterday. A price tag of $3.8bn was agreed, though the deal is likely to undergo close scrutiny by regulators. If completed, it would confirm JetBlue as America's 5th biggest carrier. If it fails to win regulatory approval - a distinct possibility - JetBlue has agreed to pay Spirit's shareholders a breakup fee of $400m. That would also allow Frontier to resurrect its own deal on the rebound.

Adbrands Update 11th Jul 2022: Elon Musk is still interfering with the corporate wellbeing of Twitter. After months of on-again off-again takeover talks, he announced on Friday that he no longer wishes to buy the company, citing various issues including "false and misleading representations" and breach of contract. Twitter - not surprisingly - reacted with rage, and sued Musk for withdrawing from a $44bn deal for which terms have already been agreed. In its court filing, Twitter commented "Having mounted a public spectacle to put Twitter in play, and having proposed and then signed a seller-friendly merger agreement, Musk apparently believes that he—unlike every other party subject to Delaware contract law—is free to change his mind, trash the company, disrupt its operations, destroy stockholder value, and walk away.". Legal experts suggest that Twitter has the stronger legal case, but question how, even if it is successful in court, it can force the notoriously free-willed Musk to buy a business he now says he doesn't want to own.

Adbrands Update 18th May 2022: Elon Musk put the brakes on his proposed takeover of Twitter, citing a lack of clarity over the number of fake accounts on the service. The apparent turnaround - over an issue about which almost everyone who has ever used Twitter is already aware - raised suspicions that Musk's original proposal was less than entirely serious. Twitter has repeatedly stated its belief that fake or spam accounts represent less than 5% of active users. Musk has asked for proof of this estimate and says the deal cannot "move forward" until het gets it. He suggested that the figure could be as much as 20%. Third party researcher SparkToro suggested that 19% was a likely estimate.

Adbrands Update 16th May 2022: The battle for Spirit Airlines turned hostile. Having had its most recent approach rejected by Spirit's board, JetBlue is taking its takeover offer to shareholders with a tender offer for Spirit's stock at $30 per share, or almost double the price at which they were trading at today's open. At the same time, JetBlue offered an additional carrot of a higher price if Spirit's board accepts the deal: "If the Spirit shareholders vote against the transaction with Frontier and compel the Spirit Board to negotiate with us in good faith, we will work towards a consensual transaction at $33 per share, subject to receiving the information to support it."

Adbrands Update 11th May 2022: London indie agency Creature has been acquired by the Dutch marketing group Candid for an undisclosed sum. Creature will become Candid's lead global creative agency, and that group's local shop XXS is rebranding as Creature Amsterdam. The UK agency's Dan Cullen-Shute will oversee both offices as glocal CEO of Creature. Privately owned Candid already has a collection of separate agencies, including 11 in the Netherlands and another two in the UK: consultancy Brand Potential and digital shop Positive.

Adbrands Update 3rd May 2022: In the ongoing three-way battle to acquire Spirit Airlines, the target company rejected a higher offer from JetBlue submitted in April and said it will stick with original suitor Frontier. Spirit chairman Mac Gardner said the board fears JetBlue's offer is likely to be blocked on antitrust grounds because of its existing alliance with American Airlines in New York and Boston. "After a thorough review and extensive dialogue with JetBlue, the Board determined that the JetBlue proposal involves an unacceptable level of closing risk that would be assumed by Spirit stockholders," he said.

Adbrands Update 27th Apr 2022: Shareholders in French broadcast group M6, including its controlling shareholder Bertelsmann, have accepted the terms of acquisition by larger local rival TF1, controlled by Bouygues. Under the proposed arrangement, Bouygues would retain a 30% holding in the combined entity, with Bertelsmann on 11%. Most of the remaining shares are publicly held. The deal was first proposed in 2021, and is now set to complete by the beginning of 2023. It will give TF1 Groupe an even more dominant position as France's biggest broadcaster. Its current audience share of around 38% will top 50% with the addition of M6 and its sister channels. However some smaller strands will be sold to appease regulators. A separate deal was agreed this week to transfer the TFX network to Altice, conditional to completion of the TF1-M6 merger.

Adbrands Update 25th Apr 2022: After ten days of initially hostile deliberation, Twitter accepted a takeover offer from Elon Musk to go private at $54.20 per share, or $44bn. The social media platform had at first responded negatively to Musk's proposal, initiating a poison pill defence that would have capped the entrepreneur's holding at 15%. However, pressure from institutional investors, as well as apparently productive talks with Musk himself, twisted the board's arm. It's not clear how his ownership will alter strategy; however he has said he wants to soften the platform's currently stringent moderation policy to encourage the broadest range of free speech. "I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means," he himself Tweeted. Private ownership by Musk is likely to also lead to a reduction in advertising on the platform.

Adbrands Update 14th Apr 2022: Elon Musk has made an offer to acquire Twitter in a deal which values the company at $43bn. The social media firm has seen its market value decline steading over the past six months to lows of around $25bn by early March. Musk unexpectedly acquired a 9% holding on April 4th, becoming Twitter's largest shareholder, after several months in which he had said he was considering launching his own rival business. The new offer to buy out the remaining shares is more than a third higher than Twitter's share price at the start of April. Musk said the offer represents his "best and final offer". "If it is not accepted, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder. I am not playing the back-and-forth game." He added "Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it."

Adbrands Update 6th Apr 2022: JetBlue Airways is threatening to derail the proposed merger of Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines. JetBlue announced an all-cash offer for Spirit worth around $3.6bn, trumping Frontier's earlier stock and cash offer of $2.9bn. Both mergers - the combination of Spirit with either JetBlue or Frontier - would create America's 5th biggest airline by seats after the Big Four of Southwest, American, Delta and United. Without a merger, Spirit ranks 6th, JetBlue 7th and Frontier 9th.

Adbrands Update 29th Mar 2022: Audience measurement giant Nielsen has been taken private by a consortium of private investors for $10bn, or $16bn including debt. The group had been negotiating with different potential buyers over the past two weeks, after suffering a series of hits to its reputation since 2020 with the accuracy of its reporting called into question in several separate incidents. A $15bn offer was declined last week; the new agreement is from a group of funds led by Evergreen Coast Capital and Brookfield Business Partners.

Adbrands Update 7th Feb 2022: With airlines still under intense pressure from the sharp downturn in travel since 2020, two of America's biggest low-fare operators are to merge. Frontier Airlines, headquartered in Denver Colorado, is to merge with larger Florida-based rival Spirit Airlines in a deal which values the latter at around $6.6bn including debt. Frontier will pay $2.9bn in stock and cash to end up with around 51.5% of the combined entity. Spirit reported revenues of $3.2bn last year (and $3.8bn in pre-pandemic 2019) but a loss of $482m. It carried almost 31m passengers (34.5m in 2019). Frontier was smaller - revenues of $2.1bn last year and $2.5bn in 2019 - but reported a significantly lower loss of $102m. It carried almost 21m passengers in 2021, down from 22.8m in 2019.

Adbrands Update 27th Jan 2022: Tesla reported what it called a "breakthrough year" for 2021 following spectacular figures for vehicle deliveries, revenues and profits. It delivered 936,172 cars to customers, a figure that is up around 87% on the year before and will probably earn it a place among the Top 25 brands for the year. Total revenues jumped by 71% to $53.8bn while net profit soared more than sixfold to $5.5bn.

Adbrands Update 13th Jan 2022: You & Mr Jones, the marketing group founded and run by former Havas CEO David Jones, is rebranding to better underline its particular skills and also, perhaps, sound a little less playful and personality-centred. The business now becomes The Brandtech Group. Jones told AdAge "When we were a tiny company with no clients, I felt like You & Mr Jones seemed like a great name for the business. We've grown pretty dramatically over the last six years. We're the world's largest digital partner for a lot of big brands and big global companies. And what was an idea when I started, which was 'brandtech,' has actually become a category, and given we own the name and have the ability to use the name, I just felt the time was right to make the change." Jones said revenues for 2021 exceeded $500m, a figure that would put the group among the world's top 25 marketing organmisations.

Adbrands Update 10th Jan 2022: In the first big acquisition of 2022, gaming company Take-Two, makers of 'Grand Theft Auto' and 'Civilization', has agreed to acquire mobile games specialist Zynga for $12.7bn, a premium of almost two-thirds above the latter's pre-bid market valuation. Zynga is best-known for 'Farmville' and 'Words With Friends'. The smaller company is expected to report revenues of around $2.8bn for 2021, compared to around $3.4bn for Take-Two.

Adbrands Daily Update 21st Dec 2021: English media tycoon Viscount Rothermere's Christmas present to himself and his family was the private buyout of Daily Mail & General Trust, one of the UK's most influential newspaper groups. DMGT is best known for the populist right wing newspaper the Daily Mail and its hugely successful online service MailOnline. In the pre-Covid age its events and exhibitions arm DMG Events was one of the world's biggest but performance has been hammered by the pandemic. Rothermere's family investment umbrella issued an offer to buy out public shareholders earlier this year, and announced this week that it had received the support of a majority of investors, allowing a full takeover to proceed. The deal values the business at around £885m.

Adbrands Daily Update 23rd Nov 2021: Swedish telecoms infrastructure giant Ericsson has announced plans to acquire the US VoIP pioneer Vonage for $6.2bn. Founded in 2001, Vonage was among the first businesses to specialise in low-cost internet telephony, though much of its market was eroded by competition from the likes of Skype and WhatsApp. It now offers a variety of cloud-based communications solutions. The deal is Ericsson's biggest ever.

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