Sledge strikes buyback deal with Photon Group

Sledge has returned to private ownership following a deal between the agency's management and its former parent company Photon Group.

Nic Cooper buys back Sledge from Photon Group
Nic Cooper buys back Sledge from Photon Group

Sledge chief executive Nic Cooper has regained full ownership of the experiential agency from Photon Group of Australia after three years. 

Talks between Sledge and parent company Photon Group began two months ago, Cooper told C&IT.

"From Photon’s perspective, there were certain challenges and problems and they have had a new chief executive come in and look at the business," said Cooper. "It was an opportunity that presented itself that benefits both of us."

Photon Group financial woes

Photon Group’s shares were suspended in June as its new chief executive Jeremy Philips tried to raise capital to reduce the company’s debts of £157m. 

Cooper is now the principal shareholder in the agency, which was bought in 2007 by Photon Group in a deal that included a £3.9m initial cash sum, followed by a series of deferred payments.

O2 contract

"I am obviously delighted to be taking Sledge private again," added Cooper. "I love the business, the people I work with, and our clients. We have just won the renewal of the O2 experiential account – the third time we have been chosen by the company in seven years – in addition to a global contract with a major investment bank."

Sledge will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year and Cooper said there are plans to focus on the digital side of the business, as well as recruit extra staff.

"Like a lot of agencies out there, for the last two years it has been incredibly tough but this year has been really good for us," he added. "The ambition is to steadily build the business up."

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