Cello Health Group is a diversified marketing services group operating in the UK and US. Originally a general market group with a collection of separate subsidiaries, it is gradually repositioning to become a specialist in healthcare communications. The group was launched in 2004 by Kevin Steeds, previously a founder of financial communications agency Citigate, and subsequently a director of two other British-based roll-ups, Incepta and later Media Square (now MSQ Partners). One of his first acquisitions was Scottish advertising agency Leith, and a series of others followed in Scotland (including digital agency Blonde and PR & strategy shop Stripe Communications), England (B2B agency CCHM:ping, CRM shop Target Direct, healthcare market research firm Insight and brand consultancy The Value Engineers) and the US (including healthcare agencies MedErgy and Mash Health). Sadly, Steeds died in 2008 at the age of just 50, but the group's acquisition drive continued under chairman Allan Rich, original founder in the 1970s of The Media Business, the London media agency which evolved into the UK arm of MediaCom. The various separate units within Cello have gradually been combined and consolidated into two entities, healthcare specialist Cello Health, increasingly the core of the group; and Cello Signal, formed from the merger of all the various diversified services agencies. This too is gradually repositioned to focus mainly on the healthcare sector. Only Leith still operates separately as a general market agency. Mark Scott is CEO of Cello Group. Former JWT CEO Chris Jones succeeded Rich as chairman in 2018. Gross revenues for 2019 were £167m, with net revenues of £107.6m, but a net loss of £943k. That resulted from a £5.7m loss on the disposal of social media analytics division Pulsar. Cello Health accounted for two thirds of net revenues, and over 80% of profits. In 2020, Cello accepted a private buyout for £179m from US investment fund Arsenal Capital.
Capsule checked 21st July 2020
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