What’s this? An exit for Mark Pearson’s Markco Media, best known for being the parent company of MyVoucherCodes.co.uk, but also a prominent investor in UK online marketing and e-commerce-driven startups, including most recently Last Second Tickets. It’s been acquired by mobile money and publicly listed company Monitise for up to £55 million, including earn outs.
Specifically, the all-share deal is disclosed as an acquisition of the business and assets of Markco Media Limited, along with the entire issued share capital of Last Second Ticketing Ltd., the company behind Last Second Tickets. So, count this as exit for both MyVoucherCodes and Last Second Tickets.
(I’m also trying to assertion if these assets include acquiring any of the other shares of startups Markco Media had invested in, and will update this post when I know more. What I do know is Pearson still has an investment vehicle in the form of Fuel Ventures, and a number of minor properties listed on the fund’s site have recently been updated as acquired, so it may be these were actually part of Markco Media’s assets and have left the building. Update: Pearson tells me the acquisition also includes VouChaCha, the mobile, location based voucher platform.)
Technically, the acquisition of Markco Media by Monitise comprises an initial £24.5 million (based on 43,729,676 new ordinary shares of 1p each in Monetize) and a further £2.5 million held back for two years, and an earn-out of up to £28 million relating to performace targets over two years. Of note, Markco Media is expected to be profitable in 2015 but recorded losses of around £0.4 million in the financial year ending 31 July 2013.
So, why is Monitise acquiring the UK company? Well, this is all about mobile commerce, with Monitise planning to roll Markco’s discount voucher site MyVoucherCodes.co.uk into its Buy Anything mobile commerce product offering, which currently works with 60,000 brands and retailers. Last Second Tickets, on the other hand, doesn’t look quite such an immediate fit, but is also about helping consumers shop in more immediate and mobile ways, while also saving money. The site helps live event organisers shift unsold tickets, last minute, while passing on discounts to consumers in return for soaking up surplus inventory.