Moore and Smalley advises on digital and creative deal

Accountancy and business advisory firm Moore and Smalley has advised on a deal that has created one of the largest digital marketing agencies in the North of England.

The firm’s corporate finance team advised the owners of Lancaster-based Fat Media on the sale of the business to Cumbria-based entrepreneur David Durnford.

As part of the deal, Kendal-based digital agency Motive Technology, also owned by David Durnford, will be rebranded as Fat Media.

Fat Media, which has further offices in Barrow and London, employs 68 specialists across an array of digital, marketing and technical disciplines. It will now expand to employ over 90 following the acquisition.

All five founders of Fat Media will stay with the business to help it realise ambitious growth plans, which include the creation of up to 30 new jobs across Cumbria and Lancashire over the next 12-months.

Stephen Gregson, corporate finance director at Moore and Smalley, said: “Fat Media has become one of the biggest names in the regional digital and creative sector. It will now benefit from new investment and David’s entrepreneurial expertise as the company takes steps to become one of the UK’s leading independent digital marketing agencies.”

Fat Media was also advised by a team from Napthens solicitors led by Rob Dobson of the Corporate department, with assistance from Benjamin Dredge, Louise Smith and Gareth Birch.

Mike Gibson, managing director at Fat Media, said: “We’re immensely proud of the phenomenal growth story of Fat Media over the past nine years. Our aim was to continue this growth long into the future and to do that we needed the external investment and experience to take us to the next level. After huge interest it was an easy decision to work with David. His track record is second-to-none and it is going to be a pleasure working with him to take Fat Media forward.”

Fat Media works with a host of North West brands and organisations, such as Lakeland and Gilkes, Cumbria Police, Cumbria Growth Hub, Playdale, and Westmorland and South Lakeland Parks. Its national and international clients include of Servisair, Glaxo SmithKline, Warburtons and Mitsubishi.

Motive Technology also has an impressive portfolio. Cumbrian clients include The Stobart Group and Mountain Goat, while brands such as Macdonald Hotels, Jessops and Yotel are among its recent national work.

The acquisition was completed through David Durnford’s company Netfonics Holdings, which was set up after he sold leading cable operator Smallworld to Virgin Media in February 2014.

David said: “I’m delighted to become involved with Fat Media. It’s a business I’ve known of for many years and have watched and admired it progress to become one of the leading digital agencies in the North West. We hope to create a significant amount of new job opportunities locally, which in itself is great news for Kendal, Lancaster and beyond.”