MSQ has announced record results following a series of strategic investments that has reinforced the business as one of the marketing industry’s leading digital and data-led international marcomms groups.
MSQ, which comprises of agencies Freemavens, Holmes & Marchant, The Gate, MBAstack, MMT Digital, Smarts, Stein IAS, twentysix and Walk-In Media, delivered a gross profit of £68 million and revenue of £93 million in the financial year to 28 February 2021. These figures take into account the contribution from Be Heard Partnership agencies, which were acquired by MSQ in September 2020.
As a group, MSQ proved very resilient through the COVID period. The six agencies that were part of MSQ for the full year delivered flat year-on-year gross profit and EBITDA on a like-for-like basis, as did the overall enlarged group once Be Heard agencies had been integrated in H2.
This stability during an uncertain year has helped MSQ build momentum to return to a robust level of growth in 2021, with gross profit up 20% over the first two months of the financial year (Mar-Apr). The group is expecting growth to further accelerate over the remainder of the year and continues to have a strong new business pipeline.
Alongside Be Heard Partnership, which saw MMT Digital, Freemavens and agenda21 join the group, MSQ has invested heavily in a number of other key areas over the past 12 months.
In March it acquired the independent digital agency MBA, merging it with Stack to create MBAstack, a leading Customer Experience agency. The group also launched a dynamic creative and production offer, rolling out a series of innovative content delivery products and hiring Morgan Cox as Head of Dynamic Content.
Further highlights include the launch of a market leading B2B model, MSQ B2B, which was recently named by B2B Marketing as the Number 1 International B2B marketing agency, and the launch of MSQ/Sustain, a specialist division that offers climate, environment and sustainability marketing expertise to NGOs and commercial businesses.
In 2020, MSQ became one of the first marketing groups of its size to become a Carbon Negative business.
Peter Reid, Chief Executive of MSQ, says: “The past year has thrown up a unique set of challenges and I’m really proud of the way that everyone across the MSQ group has responded. I believe our agile, client-centric model of joined-up agencies is perfectly suited to the current climate, and our latest set of results is testament to that.
“Through agility, creativity and strong client relationships, the agencies within MSQ most affected by the pandemic managed to bounce back quickly, whilst others maintained the momentum of previous years to reach new heights. And of course, through key acquisitions such as Be Heard, our group is stronger and more diverse than ever. We will continue to invest in new talent and new capabilities going forward to further build on our big ambitions.”
Areas of investment planned for MSQ in 2021 includes further growth in the US and Asia markets. MSQ’s PR and content agency, Smarts, has already opened an office in New York this year, whilst The Gate New York has recently appointed industry heavyweight Nancy Aresu as President.
MSQ is also set to move into a new London HQ in June. The office, based in Covent Garden, will house all 9 London-based MSQ businesses under one roof, and will offer a collaborative, flexible creative space perfectly equipped for the changing nature of work post-Covid.