ZMI ALPHA:Waterland backs digital agency group

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ZMI ALPHA:Waterland backs digital agency group

An independent group of digital agencies has secured a significant investment from Waterland Private Equity to support its growth plans.

Sideshow Group is behind the likes of Vertical Leap, Thinking Juice, Bunnyfoot and Conversion, which together provide services from experience design to conversion rate optimisation.

It employs more than over 250 staff across six offices in Bournemouth, Chichester, London, Oxford, Portsmouth and Sheffield.

Clients include BT, KFC, HSBC, Barbour, Facebook and Amazon.

Founder and chief executive Tony Hill will continue to lead the business, supported by Sideshow’s leadership team of Shane Coughlan, Neil Dennis, Stephen Pavlovich, Chris Pitt and Jonathan Russell.

Wilmslow-based Waterland already has experience in the digital services industry from its partnerships with Dept, Intracto, Xebia and IMC Group.

It will now support Sideshow Group to sustain its acquisition strategy, with follow-on funding available to buy, and partner with, other agencies.

Waterland will invest alongside Tony Hill and the senior management team, marking its seventh platform backing by the UK team since opening its UK office in 2017.

The Waterland line-up comprises Wouter Roduner, Dominic Graham, Robin Elley and Charlie Whitehead.

Hill said: “I am excited that Sideshow has secured a partnership with Waterland, a private equity firm with an outstanding record of supporting high-growth digital agencies.

“Our own ambitions are limitless, so it will be interesting to see where this journey takes us.”

Graham added: “Tony, the senior team and Sideshow’s employees have built a fantastic business over the last ten years based on great client relationships, customer-centricity and flexible delivery.

“This transaction will support Sideshow to further enhance its customer proposition.

Sideshow Group was advised by Results International Group (M&A) and Lewis Silkin (legals).

Waterland Private Equity was advised by Deloitte (FDD, tax), Pinsent Masons (legals) and Clearwater International (debt advisory).

The financial terms have not been disclosed.

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