MBA Group has acquired marcomms specialist Inc Direct as it looks to enhance its core transactional mail and regulatory mailings offering.


Warner (left, with Inc Direct managing director Paul Cooke): MBA deal made “complete sense”

The deal completed on Friday (15 March).

The London-based direct mailers are set to combine their offerings to diversify each other’s propositions to their respective client bases. Taking on the £6m-turnover Inc Direct pushes MBA’s sales up towards the £51m mark.

Separated by three miles in Enfield, North London, the two businesses will continue to run under their own brand identities for the time being but with a focus on cross-selling their respective capabilities and entering new markets. However, Inc Direct will likely move to MBA’s 13,000sqm Tottenham facility at some point in the future.

Inc Direct chief executive and founder Noel Warner said: “It is really exciting bringing our two businesses together. The combination of our reputation and capabilities with MBA’s gives us a really strong, compelling proposition to take out to market.

“MBA have skills and technology that we do not, and we likewise for them. Our priority is the client and when you can add capabilities that bring more value, bring more services under a single source and offer that consistency, it is better for everyone.

“It is a competitive market out there and consolidation is key; we now have the combined firepower to tackle a really challenging landscape. We and MBA have always had a very friendly relationship, and this just made complete sense.”

MBA, which runs bases in Enfield and Warrington, will bring to the table its standing within the financial services sector, as well as its litho technology and the longer-run capabilities of its fleet of Ricoh Pro VC6000s colour inkjet webs.

While Inc Direct’s success in markets such as retail and telecoms, as well as its HP Indigo technology, web-to-print and POS capabilities, dovetail with MBA’s offering.

According to both businesses, the synergies of the combined operations will be significant.

MBA Group sales director Kevin Stewart said: “We are basically neighbours, only three miles up the road, and we share very similar approaches to business in that we are data-led and collaborative. There is a lot of common ground, but we were not directly competing.

“It is such a competitive market out there that it is difficult for a business of Inc Direct’s size to make the strides it might want to, and we can offer help in that respect.

“From a transition perspective, the most important thing right now is to reassure clients that nothing will change, there will be no dilution of service offering or staffing levels. For the future, our combined offering will be wider – from day one it is business as usual, but we are very excited for future opportunities.”

The two businesses had been in intermittent discussions concerning a possible deal for the past two years, with Warner and MBA chair Bachar Aintaoui regularly checking in with each other to see if the time is right.

Warner will stay with the business, which he established in 2000, to aid with the transition period and any further plans are “a bit early to think about”, he said.

MBA Group currently employs 320 staff and Inc Direct has a headcount of circa 45.


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