How Ascential set the stage for the future of its events

Ascential plc is now a premium, global, events-led business, focusing on its two divisions LIONS and Money20/20.

Listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2016, Ascential plc recently completed a c. £1.2bn strategic transformation supported by Bank of Ireland in the UK.

The company, whose portfolio includes influential events such as Cannes Lions and Money20/20, has now become an events-led business serving the marketing and financial technology industries.

“Ascential demonstrates its ESG commitment through carefully considering the way it does business and the impact it can have on the environment, community and society”

The London-headquartered firm, which employs around 700 people, is an established provider of events, intelligence and advisory services, and previously also provided digital commerce optimisation solutions.

Strategic transformation

Following its transformation, which includes the sale of its Digital Commerce and Product Design divisions, the business is now focused primarily on its flagship events brands LIONS and Money20/20, with intelligence and advisory products including WARC and Contagious supporting customers year-round.

The transaction served to refinance Ascential’s existing debt with a new £225m multicurrency revolving credit facility, ensuring an optimal debt structure to suit the events-focused business going forward.

The facility also included an option to raise a further £75m over the life of the facility in order to facilitate Ascential’s continued growth as well as any potential M&A opportunities.

Bank of Ireland has been a long-term partner of Ascential, having been a lender since 2017 and facility agent since 2019.

The bank has supported Ascential’s strategic transformation and refinancing as a mandated lead arranger and facility agency for the £225m revolving credit facility.

“We were delighted to support Ascential’s key strategic objectives through this refinancing, and look forward to deepening our relationship with management over the coming years,” said Mark Birkenshaw, head of Media Finance at Bank of Ireland Corporate Banking UK.

“We have been a long standing partner to Ascential in their growth to date and following the planned disposals we are delighted to be able to extend that support to the ongoing business.”

Birkenshaw said that as a FTSE250 company with strong governance and an established sustainability framework, Ascential’s commitment to ESG aligns with Bank of Ireland’s strategy around responsible and sustainable business.

Ascential demonstrates its ESG commitment through carefully considering the way it does business and the impact it can have on the environment, community and society. Ascential has clear targets around diversity and inclusion with ambitious goals for increasing representation across the industries it operates within. These targets, combined with a set of climate-related KPIs, enables Ascential to monitor progress and impact.

Mandy Gradden, CFO of Ascential plc, commented: “I would like to thank Mark and his team for their help and support. We look forward to continuing to work with Bank of Ireland and their agency team on the next stage of Ascential’s journey.”

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