Latitude is ready to take on world
- December 27, 2007
- by Latitude
Latitude has a war chest for acquisitions after private equity house Vitruvian took a sizeable stake last week, in a deal which values Dylan Thwaites’ business at about £55m.
Mr Thwaites, 41, has built Latitude from a £500,000-turnover operation with eight staff, just five years ago, into the country’s largest independent search marketing business, with revenues of £40m this calendar year and profits of more than £3m, up 30 per cent on 2006.
The business has 110 staff across operations in Warrington and London. Mr Thwaites said he expects organic growth to lead to 50 new jobs during 2008 and that, with acquisitions, Latitude could have 200 employees this time next year.
Speaking for the first time since the Vitruvian deal, Mr Thwaites said he was looking to build Latitude into a £100m-turnover company within three years, fuelled by takeovers in the UK, United States and Australia.
“The aim to be a recognised global player really is achievable,” he said. “We have a highly motivated bunch of people whose passion, desire and commitment is amazing – they are ready to take on the world, and I think with this great group of people anything is possible.”
Vitruvian has so far raised around £700m and has pledged to support Latitude’s acquisitions strategy.
Latitude attracted interest from around 20 venture capital firms from Britain, the US and Europe, while a number of trade buyers were keen on a deal.
Mr Thwaites said Latitude opted for a private equity transaction so it could ‘be a consolidator rather than consolidated’.
Working for clients such as Kwik-Fit, Tesco Finance, Alliance & Leicester and William Hill, Latitude seeks to improve their rankings on internet search engines such as Google and Yahoo, either through sponsored links or by altering website content.
“The market we are in did not exist until about six or seven years ago: now it accounts for around eight per cent of all advertising spend,” said Mr Thwaites.
He said Latitude would look to buy smaller UK rivals, businesses which sell banner advertisements on websites, and early-stage companies involved in marketing to consumers who form interest groups on Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and other social websites.
Industry figures suggest online advertising spending is expected to reach £2.75bn this year in the UK alone.
Kevin Feddy, 27th December 2007, Manchester Evening News0 Comments