UPDATE June 10, 2014: Kantar Media’s parent WPP has purchased a majority stake in Precise. PRWeek UK ran the story here. WPP has made a solid move, providing Kantar Media a fantastic media monitoring and reporting component to their offering. The combined offering if lead by Precise’s workflow and reporting supplemented by Kantar’s rounded media monitoring (they purchased Press Index about a year ago and a few others) will put added pressure on Gorkana in Europe. It will also provide Kantar and Precise a firm foothold for multi-national companies based in the US to give them a solid review when their contracts come up for renewal. Vocus and Cision are on the way to merging (this will take a good 12 months) but Kantar and Precise have a unique limited opportunity to take market share from both in the near term.
On Monday the Financial Times broke the news of Gorkana and Precise Media’s backers each putting their companies up for sale in the near future. Not really a shock to anyone who follows the industry, but maybe to their customers. These are two major players in the UK both working at making the same name in the US with varying degrees of effort and success.
Gorkana We Love You
Gorkana is known for it’s detailed media database of more than 130K journalists. Alex Northcott and Michael Webster focused on building strong relationships with journalists which set the Gorkana media database apart from all other databases. PR’s swear by this data and are willing to pay the extra money for this unique database along side their Agency and their own subscription to PR workflow tools. They sold the business in 2010 to Durrants for around £25m thus creating the Gorkana Group. This combined three powerhouses in the industry: the fantastic journalist database (Gorkana) with one of the most respected clipping services in the UK (Durrants) with the leading measurement and automated clipping service at the time (Metrica). Building out the US portion of the database has been slower than any of us would have liked but it’s getting there slowly on industry at a time. The database overall really has deep roots in the UK and is worth it for that alone to any multinational.
Precise We Love You Too!
Precise Media is made up of an awesome group of people: Tony Prime – not only knows IT but can speak to real people about it in PR; Keir Fawcus knows the business and how to ensure Precise is differentiated, Marcus Gault understands what customers don’t even know they need yet! I can keep gushing here but let’s get back to it. Quite simply Precise have a fantastic product. Media Platform+ makes looking at your news and social hits easy. The media monitoring and analysis is spot on. Clients in the UK use their Precise reports as the benchmark and it’s hard for anyone to measure up. They are only recently approaching the US and making great strides. I hope this sale does not change the wonderful mix that makes up Precise but fuels them to penetrate the US market further.
The FT mentioned WPP and NASDAQ as potential buyers. WPP maybe, NASDAQ I don’t think so. Here’s why:
The WPP own Kantar Media. Kantar Media purchased PressIndex back in 2012. Appetite for a media database is high here.
NASDAQ purchased two PR workflow solutions in the last 2 years with Glide Technologies and MyMediaInfo. Appetite for a third acquisition would seem pretty low here. Although the Gorkana DB is highly prized and would give the MyMediaInfo offering serious industry credibility. Glide Technologies saw this years ago and had the Gorkana DB fed into their system much to customers delight the only offering to ever have this option.
What about another VC? Or KKR? Or Goldman? or… Here is what I see, this is an opportunity for anyone looking to marry the BEST UK media database with awesome US potential, with a fantastic PR workflow product offering which includes the BEST UK media monitoring and analysis tool out there. Bought separately meh, I don’t see much changing for either. Bought together… now you have a knockout player ready to take the US by storm.