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TLT advises BJL on acquisition by Dentsu Aegis Network

TLT has advised the shareholders of Manchester-based creative agency BJL on the acquisition of the business by Dentsu Aegis Network.

The deal, for an undisclosed amount, saw TLT advise BJL’s CEO Nicky Unsworth, Managing Partner Jackie Holt and Commercial Director Iain Kerr, who all completed a management buyout of the agency in 2004. The trio will remain in their roles and will continue to lead BJL following the deal.

Dentsu Aegis Network is a global media, digital and creative communications company, operating in 145 countries and employing over 40,000 people.

Following the acquisition, BJL will form part of Dentsu Aegis Network North, a fast-growing cluster within the company’s UK & Ireland business. Dentsu Aegis Network North employs 700 people across offices in Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh and Newcastle and provides services to clients such as N Brown Group, Pets at Home, Thomas Cook, Halfords and Holland & Barrett.

Founded in 1987, BJL has grown into one of the largest and most awarded independent creative agencies in the region, expanding into London in 2014. The agency employs 75 people who work with a diverse range of both consumer and B2B clients including Hilton, The Co-operative Bank, BASF, Pilkington, Ronseal, Craghoppers and Skipton Building Society.

TLT advised the shareholders of BJL on all aspects of the sale including the pre-sale reorganisation. The team was led by corporate partner Ian Roberts, supported by associate Kelly Clarke, solicitor Seraphina Wilkins and trainee Emily Rhodes (corporate); partner Ben Watson (employee incentives); legal director Mark Braude (tax); and associate David Birchett (employment).

BJL’s expertise in brand strategy, advertising, content production, PR, social media and CRM complements Dentsu Aegis Network’s already significant media, digital, data and technology capabilities in the region, and further strengthens the network’s ability to deliver more effective solutions for clients. 

Nicky Unsworth, CEO of BJL, says: “This deal allows BJL to embark on its next phase of growth as part of the Dentsu Aegis Network. TLT was able to advise us across all areas, ensuring a seamless transaction and supporting us on the technicalities swiftly and effectively.”

Ian Roberts, partner at TLT, says: “Manchester has a thriving creative sector, holding up against some of the biggest creative hubs in Europe. We’re delighted to have supported BJL on this significant milestone, enabling it to continue three decades of success in staying ahead of the market and meeting the ever-evolving needs of its clients."

TLT has been shortlisted for three awards at the Manchester Legal Awards 2019 including Law Firm of the Year (Large), Innovation and Corporate/Commercial Team of the Year.

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