Huntsworth buys health group TCEG for $28 million and signals U.S. ambition

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Neil Matheson (pictured) is the global CEO of Huntsworth Health.

TCEG has a total of 260 staff across three event, experiential and digital marketing companies predominantly focused on healthcare clients: WRG, The Moment and Just Communicate. Key clients include AstraZeneca, Google, Roche and the BBC.

The group as a whole generated revenues of around £26m and EBITDA of £3.8m in the same financial year. TCEG is led by CEO Russ Lidstone and COO David Sharrock, who will both remain with the business. No redundancies are planned.

See also: Huntsworth Health revenue rose 18% in the first half of 2016

A Huntsworth statement today said the move would "strengthen further Huntsworth's ability to provide high-quality digital creativity to its clients, and allow TCEG to benefit from access to the group's existing healthcare clients, especially in the US where there is significant opportunity for TCEG to increase its market share".

"The addition of TCEG supports Huntsworth's strategy of adding capability to better support the needs of healthcare clients through both organic growth and selective acquisitions," it continued.

Huntsworth revenue for 2016 was £180.1m, with just over half coming from Huntsworth Health and nearly a third from PR business Grayling.

See also: Huntsworth Health promotes two to agency global CEOs

WRG is the largest TCEG component, with 150 staff. As well as its Manchester headquarters, it has offices in London, Philadelphia and Basel. It was acquired by LDC in 2011. The Moment - which had been chaired by former Blue Rubicon chair Alistair Gornall until earlier this year - was created last year as a spin-out of another LDC firm. Just was also acquired last year.

These three brands will remain in place under the ownership.

TCEG CEO Russ Lidstone said: "The opportunity to offer clients an even more integrated view of how to engage audiences is compelling. Our teams at WRG, The Moment and Just Communicate are genuinely thrilled to be joining Huntsworth."

See also: Huntsworth Health's ApotheCom partners with Continuum Clinical

Huntsworth group CEO Paul Taaffe said there was "a wealth of talent and blue-chip clients" at TCEG. He said: "With more and more clients seeking to engage both employees and customers with powerful experiences, TCEG is well positioned for future growth."

LDC director Rob Powell wished TCEG "every success".

A note from the broker Numis said: "We view TCEG as an excellent strategic fit and see clear scope for TCEG's services to be referred to Huntsworth Health's client base, particularly in the US."

See also: Huntsworth Health | 2017

Numis maintained its 'buy' rating for the company's shares, the value of which jumped nearly seven per cent to 63p in the first hour of trading today, the first time in just over three years that it had risen above 60p.

This story originally appeared in PRWeek.

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