Zibrant staff 'unaffected' by £2.9m MBO

Zibrant's four UK offices and all staff will remain unaffected by the sale of the events agency to chairman Nigel Cooper.

Fay Sharpe, managing director of Zibrant, will remain in her role following the MBO
Fay Sharpe, managing director of Zibrant, will remain in her role following the MBO

Following the news that Zibrant chairman Nigel Cooper has bought the events agency for £2.9m, Zibrant has announced that all staff in its four offices – in Derby, Milton Keynes, Faversham and Godalming – will remain unaffected by the deal.

Fay Sharpe, managing director of Zibrant, will continue to drive the sales and marketing of the agency, while Helen McCabe will continue to oversee operations.

Nigel Cooper, chairman of Zibrant, said: "We have a great opportunity and I am thrilled at the prospect of what we can achieve. The recent investment and developments have already resulted in a leaner, fitter, more dynamic and more focussed business with strong levels of new business wins.

"We will continue to develop and invest in our products and service infrastructure and further develop our presence in the meetings and events sector." 

On Friday (12 September) the news broke that Motivcom has agreed an offer from Sodexo Motivation Solutions UK (SMSUK) that values it at £41m, and has also agreed to sell its event agency subsidiary Zibrant to Zebra 1234 Ltd, a company owned by director and 10.78% Motivcom shareholder Nigel Cooper, for £2.9m.

SMSUK approached Motivcom with an offer in February 2014 for its incentives and loyalty business on the condition that its meetings and events business (which is primarily operated by Motivcom subsidiary Zibrant) was excluded, which led to Motivcom undertaking a sale process to identify suitable buyers for Zibrant.

Prior to the MBO, it is understood that Capita was looking interested in buying Zibrant, but the acquisition did not progress past the due diligence stage.

For the year ended 31 December 2013, Zibrant reported revenue of £11m (2012: £14m), operating profit of £32,000 (2012: £152,000) and profit after tax of £71,000 (2012: loss of £7,000).

At the end of 2013, Motivcom merged its P&MM events division with Zibrant, which resulted in the launch of Zibrant LIVE in January.

Motivcom has yet to clarify what the deal means for AYMTM, the other incentive and events agency it owns.

In April, Motivcom reported an 18% fall in gross profit to £12.2m for its meetings and events division in 2013, citing continued budgetary pressures, reduced delegate numbers and a lack of new business.

Motivcom acquired Zibrant in a £15m deal in October 2007.

It also bought Motivation Travel Management (MTM) in 2007 in a deal worth up to £1.5m, which it merged with Archer Young to create AYMTM.

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