A consortium comprised of ad industry management consultant MediaLink and private-equity backed events firm Hyve Group has reportedly made an offer to acquire the Cannes Lions festival from Ascential plc.
"Under its plans, MediaLink would acquire the Lions and associated assets including WARC, while Hyve would become the owner of Money 20/20, a major international fintech event," Sky News reported this morning, adding that it was unclear at presstime whether Ascential's board has "engaged with the consortium offer."
Details, including the bid, were not reported by Sky News, but the news follows a series of strategic alternative discussions and announcements by Ascential, which has been weighing various asset sales, as well as a possible spin-off of operations -- ecommerce platform Flywheel and, potentially, agency tech startup Hudson MX -- as a publicly-traded company in the U.S.
Last week, Ascential, which is publicly traded in the U.K., confirmed reports that it is in "exclusive discussions with Apax in relation to the sale" of its WGSN consumer research operations.
"There can be no certainty that any binding transaction will be entered into. A further announcement will be made in due course as appropriate," the statement read.
The emergence of MediaLink as a potential bidder for the Cannes Lions is interesting, because until 2021 when it sold MediaLink to Hollywood talent agency UTA, Ascential owned MediaLink.
MediaLink founder and chairman Michael Kassan and his son Alexander Kassan also remain key investors in Ascential-backed Hudson MX, which was part of a restructuring in February giving Ascential a path to majority control.
MediaLink did not respond MediaPost at presstime.