Saturday, December 22, 2007

APAX and GMG bag WGSN as part of their £1bn EMAP buy


I don't normally comment on non-TAG companies but I felt compelled to write something about one of my favourite digital companies, WGSN.
WGSN (originally Worth Global Style Network!) describes itself as 'the world's leading online research, trend analysis, and news service for the fashion and style industries'. It was a pioneer in subscription based information services on line at a time when major clients required a dedicated satellite dish to receive it because the web was inadequate.
WGSN was launched by the brothers Julian and Marc Worth in 1998 and was sold to EMAP in October 2005 for £140m.
Amidst the myriad properties that APAX and Guardian Media Group (GMG) have acquired this nugget which from EMAP's public statements in March and July this year indicated was continuing to perform ahead of its plan.
I wouldn't be surprised if WGSN could recover half of the entire purchase price for Bidco. Another coup for Stephen Grabiner and his team!
APAX and GMG both have strong digital credentials and will certainly understand WGSN a lot better than EMAP did and its potential should be unleashed.
My own connections with WGSN go back to when I introduced the service to Arcadia and it became WGSN's first significant client.
Later, Marc and Julian were very keen for TAG to invest but we were never able to come to terms. Ah well ....

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