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Price tag of The Monkeys sale to Accenture was $63m, AFR reveals

The deal for Accenture Interactive to buy creative agency The Monkeys was worth $63m, it has finally emerged.

The price for The Monkeys – the most successful independent creative agency in the country – has been the subject of intense speculation since it was sold in May.

But today’s Australian Financial Review reveals that the value of the deal was $63m, with most of the money going to the three co-founders Mark Green, Scott Nowell and Justin Drape. According to the AFR, another four staff were also shareholders – ECD Fabio Buresti and MD Matthew Michael plus David Park and Nicholas Jackson from sister design agency Maud, which was also sold.

The Monkeys co-founder Mark Green, presenting to this year’s Mumbrella Awards jury

The newspaper reports that the $63m sum amounts to a multiple of 17 times the company’s 2016 financial year EBITDA profit. The company’s profit before tax was just under $2.5m and it’s EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) profit was $3.7m. Turnover was nearly $22m, says the AFR, which has obtained a summary of The Monkey’s P&L accounts.

The Monkeys P&L | Source: AFR

The AFR reports that although the deal consists of an upfront sum, followed by payouts over the coming years, these are unusually not tied to the company’s financial performance, but to metrics around staff retention. If correct, the arrangement would be as a strong sign that Accenture is determined to retain The Monkey’s culture and avoid the distraction that sometimes occurs during sales processes where founders become focused only on hitting short term targets.

The Monkeys currently has 130 employees – the deal prioritises hanging on to them

The deal is seen as the strongest signal yet of the interest being shown in the marketing sector by big consultancies such as Accenture, PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and EY.

The high profit multiple is also an indication of the competitiveness being shown by the consultancies trying to get into the space, along with the fact that The Monkeys – which began just over a decade ago – was the most attractive target for acquisition. It will also strengthen the hand of other independent agencies seeking to negotiate their own sales, which often occur in the sector at a multiple of around 10 to 12 times profits.

The agency has a reputation for offering the relatively rare combination of creative but effective work at scale. The Monkeys was named both independent agency of the year and full service agency of the year at the Mumbrella Awards last month. And the agency’s Spring Lamb campaign for Meat & Livestock Australia was named ad of the year.

At the time of posting, The Monkeys could not be reached for comment.

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