Aegis to back web start-ups

Aegis to back web start-ups

Aegis is to pour $50 million (£32 million) into an investment fund which will back interactive and online marketing start-ups through a joint venture deal with US private equity firm Warburg Pincus.

Aegis has lured Andrew Burke, a former chief operating officer of eVentures and a former chief executive of LineOne, to head up the venture, to be called Everger. Everger will have backing of $100 million (£63 million) and will be jointly owned by the two companies.

Everger is to target companies broadly operating in the e-marketing arena and will offer a range of market research and information services through Aegis’ global network. Targeted companies will include online advertising providers, interactive marketing services firms and interactive marketing software companies.

Doug Flynn, Aegis chief executive, said the company had found a perfect partner in Warburg Pincus, formerly a major shareholder in the marketing services group. “EMarketing is a business sector that we know well,” said Flynn. “This joint venture provides early low-cost entry to the eMarketing sector through a vehicle that is separately and clearly managed.”

Aegis also plans to spend $40 million (£25 million) bolstering its global marketing services and research capabilities. It is set to acquire Asia’s second-largest research and consultancy group, Asia Market Intelligence Group, for an initial consideration of £15 million. A maximum additional payment of £35 million will depend on the company’s performance over the next three years.

Aegis has taken a 35% stake in a French subsidiary of market research company Ipsos for £2.7 million and has bought the outstanding 49% of Argentinian media agency Carat Fax for $13.5 million (£8.6 million).

Aegis recorded a 26% increase in pre-tax profits to £64.6 million in 1999. Turnover went up 16% to £4.8 million.

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