Cannes Lions Parent Ascential to Buy MediaLink

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Cannes Lions parent company Ascential has agreed to acquire 100% of well-connected media consultancy MediaLink in a bid to expand its revenue and find new business in areas such as entertainment.

Cannes Lions statue
Cannes Lions statue

The deal is expected to clear by the end of the month, said Duncan Painter, CEO of Ascential. MediaLink Chairman-CEO Michael Kassan will remain onboard in his current position, as will the entire MediaLink staff.

While Mr. Kassan signed a four-year contract as part of the deal, he said he told Mr. Painter when they shook hands, "I never want to carry another business card."

MediaLink will become part of Ascential's Information Services division, which Mr. Painter said has a "clear line of demarcation" from the events side of the business, such as the Cannes Lions and Money 20/20.

For Ascential, Mr. Painter said the acquisition makes sense for the company as it looks to accelerate growth of its information services business. He said the relationship with MediaLink also opens up opportunities for the company in the entertainment and information innovation space.

Mr. Kassan said there are no conflicts associated with the deal. "We continue to hold our Swiss passport in terms of this industry," he said. MediaLink has worked with Cannes Lions customers since 2011.

MediaLink, which was founded by Mr. Kassan in 2003 and has more than 120 staffers in the U.S, will expand globally through the deal. Mr. Kassan said the company is looking to open a London and Hong Kong office in the next month, having already identified people to lead the new operations.

Mr. Kassan said there's "never been a better time based on disruption in the business we operate in" for the acquisition to take place, because MediaLink will be able to expand its capabilities and footprint and continue helping clients navigate the "chaos" in the marketplace.

Aryeh Bourkoff's LionTree Advisors acted as financial advisors to MediaLink with LionTree Partner Ben Braun serving as principal advisor. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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