Robin Langford
Oct 06, 2023

Cannes Lions bid: Investment consortium approaches Ascential with offer

Reports suggest the bid sent to the B2B information company is for the events arm alone, as Ascential posts booming revenues for Cannes Lions 2023

Cannes Lions bid: Investment consortium approaches Ascential with offer

A consortium of strategic and financial investors has reportedly approached Ascential, owners of The Cannes Lions festival, with a bid to take over its events operations.

According to Sky News, private-equity backed exhibitions company Hyve, and MediaLink, a media and marketing advisory firm owned by United Talent Agency, has put forward an offer to acquire Ascential's events arm in the last few weeks.

Terms of the bid were not disclosed and Ascential declined to comment on the story.

FTSE 250 company Ascential, formerly known as publishing company Emap, organises Cannes Lions, the largest gathering of advertising executives in the world, alongside fintech event Money 20/20. 

The Sky News report suggests Medialink would acquire Cannes Lions, while Hyve would be the owner of Money 20/20. 

The news comes as the UK-based B2B information, analytics and events company Ascential has reported first-half revenues of £307.4m, up from £260.7m in the same period last year.

Events (comprising the Marketing and Retail & /Financial Services segments), saw growth in Marketing by 28% and the Lions’ revenue grew 30%. The Retail & Financial services segment grew 17%, while Money 20/20 Europe posted a 19% uplift in revenue.

“Cannes Lions…progressed even further ahead of pre-pandemic benchmarks”

Ascential CEO Duncan Painter has been reportedly keen to keep the events as a listed business in the UK. 

Commenting on the recent H1 results, he said:  “Our businesses have continued to trade strongly in the first half of 2023. In particular, both Cannes Lions and Money20/20 enjoyed extremely successful editions in June and have progressed even further ahead of their pre-pandemic benchmarks. Digital Commerce has once again outperformed the underlying retail market it serves and action taken in the first half to create an integrated enterprise customer product and organisation have set the Digital Commerce business up to deliver sustainable margins and operating leverage going forward. Product Design continues to drive growth by extending its world-class trend forecasting expertise to a wider range of products and end markets.

“After our seasonally stronger first half, we have had a solid start to the second half. Despite continued macro uncertainty impacting the industries we serve and currency headwinds, our businesses remain well set for the year, supported by multiple growth levers. The structural long-term growth in our end markets, and the success of our marquee events, underpins the Board’s confidence in the prospects of our businesses for the future.”

(This article first appeared on

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