ATG Media (‘ATG’), the global pioneer of webcast and timed online auction platforms and owner of antiques industry bible, Antiques Trade Gazette, has announced that it has struck a deal with private equity firm ECI Partners (‘ECI’) to drive ongoing international expansion.

ATG’s platforms, which include the-saleroom.com, i-bidder.com, BidSpotter.co.uk and BidSpotter.com, allow bidders from around the world to browse fully illustrated sale catalogues and place bids over the internet in real time, with live audio and video feeds delivering the auction room atmosphere. Bidders are also able to participate in timed, online only auctions.

ATG’s growth has been driven by the continued shift of bidders online and ATG’s ability to provide auctioneers with a larger bidder base.

The sites have exceptional brand recognition - 80% of visitors to ATG’s websites visit because they know the brand or they find the brand via organic search. In the past 12 months the sites have sold 1.3m lots totalling in excess of £260m online.

ECI will partner with ATG’s management and existing investor Mobeus Equity Partners (‘Mobeus’) in taking the business forward.

Mobeus financed the management buyout of ATG in October 2008 and provided additional funding in April 2013 to support the acquisition of BidSpotter.  Mobeus is maintaining a significant minority stake in the business.

Anne Somers, CEO of ATG Media commented:

“We are very pleased to be working with ECI Partners. They have a strong track record partnering with fast-growing, innovative companies in the e-commerce, technology space."

“ECI’s experience in the online sector, particularly their successful partnerships with Laterooms.com and CarTrawler, will be instrumental in driving our expansion into new markets and investment in new technology.”

“We are proud of our achievements to date and are poised for further expansion. Working with Mobeus, we successfully acquired BidSpotter in April 2013 and we are now looking to grow further with investment and support from ECI.”   

Tom Wrenn, Partner and head of TMT at ECI, the UK’s leading growth-focused, mid-market private equity firm, commented:

“We are delighted to be partnering with ATG Media as the company transitions into its next growth phase. As a growth focused investor we were attracted to ATG by its market leading technology and strong brand recognition, attributes that have driven its market penetration."

“We look forward to working with Anne’s team and Mobeus to help drive ATG’s continued expansion in the UK and internationally.”

Mike Walker, Partner at Mobeus said:

“Anne and her team have done an excellent job growing the business, expanding into new geographies and verticals.  We are particularly proud of our success with ATG – we backed the business in the teeth of the 2008-9 financial crisis when many other investors shut up shop.  This is a tremendous UK growth story - the business has more than doubled over a very challenging economic period. That is all credit to the strength of the team at ATG.   I would like to welcome ECI on board.  We look forward to working with management and ECI to continue ATG’s impressive growth.”

atgmedia  eci  mobeus

Advisors on the deal:

Blake Lapthorn - legal advice to Mobeus and ATG Media
Deloitte - financial due diligence for ECI
First Capital - corporate finance advice to Mobeus and ATG Media
Hambalt - vendor commercial due diligence
Liberty Corporate Finance - corporate finance advice to ECI
PricewaterhouseCoopers - commercial due diligence to ECI
Squire Sanders - legal advice to ECI

For further information please contact:
ECI Partners: Tom Wrenn / Charlie Johnstone
T: +44 (0) 20 7606 1000

Maitland: Tom Eckersley/Rachel Pescod
T: +44 (0)20 7379 5151

ATG Media: Richard Lewis
richardlewis@atgmedia.com
Tel: +44 (0)203 725 5512

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