Senior figures in the UK post sector have expressed their surprise that Deluxe Entertainment Services Group will pay just £9m for Ascent Media’s UK creative services and media divisions.
The US entertainment group last week revealed plans to acquire Ascent’s UK facilities, which include Ascent 142, Method, Soho Film Lab and Rushes, and the low price tag has prompted some to brand it “the deal of the decade”.
Simon Kay, former UK head of Ascent Media and current joint managing director of JCA, said the price tag suggested that Deluxe will need to make changes to the businesses. He said: “[Ascent’s UK post houses] are busy, but clearly something is wrong for it to be [sold for £9m].”
Peter Savage, managing director of Azule, said the December 2009 accounts showed Ascent Media UK’s assets to be in excess of £53m.
“To acquire this business for as little as £9m, despite tough trading conditions over the past year, is the buy of the decade when you consider the quality of the Ascent stable,” he added.
Deluxe declined to comment on potential redundancies. Its purchase follows the acquisitions of the European Captioning Institute in November and ITFC in August.
Ascent Media UK vice-president of marketing Sally Reid said it was too early to discuss the implications of the deal, and that its value was set by its US parent. She added: “The deal should be positive news because most of Deluxe’s offering is complementary to our own.”