August 2012

Transaction Background

Launched in 2005, I Spy is an award-winning digital marketing agency based in London. I Spy is a pioneering agency in its field, delivering integrated services in paid search, natural search, display, social media, mobile marketing and conversion optimisation.

The agency has grown rapidly since launch, ranking no. 6 in the 2011 Sunday Times Microsoft Tech Track 100 league table. It provides cutting-edge digital marketing services to clients such as Vauxhall, Jobsite, Gap Inc., Virgin Media and Endsleigh.

The deal will take iProspect’s search billings to £150m, cementing its position as the UK’s top search agency. iProspect, part of Aegis Media, has global media billings of $780m and more than 1,300 people in 48 offices worldwide.

Our Role

Clarity was the sole corporate finance advisor to the shareholders of I Spy through the entire sale process. This role included advising on the separation of I Spy’s social marketing technology platform, Upcast, which simultaneously completed a round of growth funding and will remain an independent business.

Clarity assisted I Spy with preparing the business for sale and was responsible for deal strategy and tactics, marketing and managing discussions with counterparties.

Clarity led the negotiations on pricing and deal structure, which was designed to incentivise management to drive the future performance of the enlarged business. The team coordinated multiple advisors through mutual due diligence and deal execution, maintaining momentum and guiding the process to a successful outcome.

“Clarity were excellent throughout the transaction. They fully understood our business, industry and potential buyer-set. They ran a highly professional and focused sale process which delivered the desired outcome for all stakeholders. The senior level attention and role as trusted advisor proved pivotal to achieve our objectives. I would recommend Clarity.”

Chris Whitelaw
Founder & President, I Spy Marketing