Ascential Sells MediaLink To UTA For $125M, Originally Paid Upwards Of $207M

Ascential plc, which originally agreed to pay upwards of $207 million to acquire ad industry management consulting firm MediaLink in 2017, this morning announced it sold it to Los Angeles-based talent agency UTA for $125 million.

Founder Michael Kassan will remain CEO of MediaLink, and its new owner touted the deal as a combination that would create the “next generation player at the intersection of strategy, technology, entertainment and marketing.”

That is similar to the statements Ascential, a publicly-traded company based in the U.K., said when it acquired MediaLink in 2017, with its CEO Duncan Painter then stating, “I see synergies between MediaLink and our portfolio of products to significantly help accelerate our existing businesses and create additional value for shareholders.”

Ascential, which operates the Cannes Lions advertising awards festival, clearly did pursue synergies with MediaLink, which will presumably maintain some of those relationships. When Ascential led a $63.5 million investment in media-buying systems and software startup Hudson MX early this year, it announced it also was creating a new consulting division within MediaLink -- HudsonBridge -- that would specialize on transitioning marketers and agencies into Hudson MX’s software, data processing and applications to help transform the way they plan and buy media.

While it was not disclosed what Ascential’s final price for acquiring MediaLink ultimately was, it reportedly paid an initial cash consideration of $69 million in 2017 with total consideration reaching up to $207 million based on earn-outs and performance.

“MediaLink has been propelled by our proximity to Ascential for the past four years, and I thank Duncan Painter and the entire Ascential team for being a great partner and ally,” Kassan said in a statement about the sale, adding, “We will continue our deep partnership with Cannes Lions under our new ownership.”

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