Thumb’s up for NETTEC shares

Brand communications consultancy Thumb has been acquired by strategic e-commerce solutions group NETTEC, in a deal worth £1.8m.

Thumb will be paid an initial £1m, split 70/30 between cash and NETTEC shares. NETTEC will pay an additional sum of up to £800 000, depending on Thumb’s performance, in two separate payments by December 2000. All but £100 000 of this will be paid in shares. The remainder will be in cash.

The deal comes just months after the appointment of Thumb’s new managing director, Graham Brown. “I didn’t come here with a view to selling the company,” says Brown. He adds that the consultancy’s search for a strategic e-commerce partner led to the deal.

Thumb will continue to operate from its existing offices in London’s Islington. There will be no redundancies, and Thumb’s management structure will remain in place. Two NETTEC directors will join the consultancy’s board, including NETTEC finance director Fraser Park.

Brown says the initial search for an e-commerce partner was fuelled by client demand. “Clients want to talk about how they communicate and build brands electronically,” he says. “This is a growth opportunity.”

Founded in 1995, NETTEC develops Internet and intranet strategies to create competitive advantages for its clients. These include drinks group Seagram, the Marketing Society, and hairdresser Trevor Sorbie International.

NETTEC chairman and chief executive Jeremy White says, “Thumb brings significant growth opportunities for our e-commerce business. The rapid expansion of the Internet as a marketing and communications vehicle necessitates ever more sophisticated skills. The combination of NETTEC’s expertise in e-commerce and Thumb’s deep marketing and branding experience will further enhance our position.”

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