LDC invests GBP13m in Hybrid
Mid-market private equity firm LDC has invested GBP13 million in digital media company Hybrid. LDC’s investment will support Hybrid’s existing management team to grow and develop the business organically and explore targeted acquisitions.
Headquartered in Bristol, Hybrid creates digital outcomes for clients, helping them to engage specialist audiences across the higher education and technology sectors. As a leading digital agency in the higher education market, Hybrid partners with universities to support student recruitment, develop differentiated brands and provide tailored insights and data analytics to drive marketing strategy.
Hybrid has an international client base which includes higher education institutions such as the University of Bristol, Australian National University and Columbia University in New York, in addition to global tech brands such as Autodesk, Cisco and Verizon.
Hybrid provides a full suite of digital marketing services, including campaign development, media planning and buying, content creation and data analytics. The company also owns and operates a number of prominent web brands, including Study International, U2B, Tech HQ and Tech Wire Asia. With offices in Bristol, Kuala Lumpur and Sydney, Hybrid employs more than 70 people worldwide.
LDC, Lloyds Banking Group’s private equity arm, will support Hybrid’s existing management team, led by CEO Chris Cammann, to broaden its services to clients and pursue its domestic and international growth ambitions. Founder James Craven will continue to support the business and provide strategic advice as Board Director.
The investment was led by LDC’s Head of South West and Wales, Dewi Hughes, and Investment Directors Oliver Schofield and Stefan Gunn. Dewi and Oliver will join the Board as Non-Executive Directors. As part of the transaction, Hybrid has appointed industry pioneer Jerry Buhlmann as Non-Executive Chairman. Jerry brings more than 30 years’ experience in media and advertising to the business, having previously been CEO of Aegis Group PLC and then Dentsu Aegis Network.
Hybrid CEO Chris Cammann says: “The partnership with LDC creates an outstanding platform for our team and allows us to pursue a strategy of constant innovation for our clients. We want to keep breaking new ground and take our performance with our tech and higher education partners to the next level. The last 12 months has highlighted the importance of digital channels and our work has enabled higher education institutions in particular to continue to drive engagement with their core audiences at a time when student recruitment has never been as important.
“When we were exploring our funding options, we were keen to remain in the driving seat of our business but wanted support from an experienced and knowledgeable investor with a committed source of capital and a shared belief in our goals. LDC understands our direction and we’re looking forward to the journey together.”
James Craven, Hybrid Founder, adds: “I am incredibly proud of the people at Hybrid and their work to achieve this milestone. The timing is right to accelerate and scale our growth and continue to evolve our global offering. LDC is an ideal investor to super-charge Hybrid. We’ve got an outstanding leadership team, people and culture so I’m delighted for everyone and know they’ll grasp the opportunity with both hands. I look forward to supporting Chris and the team to realise the potential.”
Dewi Hughes, Head of South West and Wales at LDC, says: “With the increasing global use of digital media, there is a significant opportunity for digital marketing agencies that can engage specialist audiences. The team at Hybrid has a strong track record of innovation and growth, an established international network and a passion to provide market leading outcomes for its clients. We are excited to support the team’s ambitions and plans.”
LDC was advised by EY (financial and tax advisory), Womble Bond Dickinson (legal), BDO (financial and tax due diligence) and Plural (commercial due diligence).
Hybrid was advised by Sequence (advisory), Royds Withy King (legal) and Bishop Fleming (financial and tax).