Fundraising News: Target set to expand after Cello acquisition

Tania Mason

Target Direct chairman Stephen Pidgeon has outlined his ambition to double the size of the direct marketing agency within two years in the wake of its acquisition by start-up holding company the Cello Group.

Target Direct, which counts the British Heart Foundation, the Royal British Legion, the Salvation Army and Marie Curie Cancer Care among its charity clients, is one of three marketing services agencies being bought by Cello.

The other two are advertising business the Leith Agency and pharmaceutical market research agency Insight.

Cello has been formed by ex- Incepta Group finance director Kevin Steeds, who becomes chairman, and Mark Scott, ex-WPP director who becomes chief executive. Cello shares will float at £1 each on the Alternative Investment Market next month, with an expected value of more than £23m.

Pidgeon, who founded Target Direct with creative directors Nick Thomas and Pauline Lockyer in 1993, said it would be "business as usual" for clients. "We will remain independent in that we will still run ourselves. Existing clients will not notice anything."

Pidgeon said Cello's backing meant Target could seek complementary businesses for its own empire, and he hoped to double its size through acquisition and organic growth within two years.

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