Peter Litten and Gary Fitzpatrick have sold their 37.9% stake and stepped down from Aeorema Communications, parent company of events and film agency Cheerful Twentyfirst. The share sale completed on 13th September, ending the association with the company they founded in 1995 as Cheerful Scout.
Steve Quah and Andrew Harvey move up to Joint MD with immediate effect, while Mike Hale stays as Chairman and the largest shareholder. Quah has been the driving force behind building the events side of the business from £551,000 turnover in 2010 to £3.95m in 2016. Starting as a video producer, Harvey has been with Aeorema for almost 18 years, playing a key role in strengthening operational performance.
The deal represents a changing of the guard. Litten and Fitzpatrick’s Cheerful Scout was a trailblazer in corporate video, bringing techniques from cinema, broadcast and theatre into corporate communications. Litten’s early career included working in the props department of the first Star Wars movie and co-creating Max Headroom for Channel 4 in the mid-80s.
With Nick Terry stepping down from Top Banana and selling his stake, and changes I’ve heard are in the pipeline at another well-known agency, September is proving to be a watershed.
Since Aeorema acquired Twentyfirst’s assets and merged the businesses in 2004, client spend has grown in live and experiential communications. The acquisition was timely and, with careful financial management, it paved the way for yesterday’s deal.
With a strong balance sheet, Cheerful Twentyfirst will no doubt look to grow. It’s clear the focus will be on corporate events, but the agency’s experience in digital effects and film gives it an edge.
One to watch.
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