Involve Marketing Partnership to close after remaining marketing agencies are sold

Involve chief executive Martin Smith says firm will cease to exist with the sale of DMS, United and Millennium

Martin Smith
Martin Smith

Three marketing agencies owned by the parent firm of the defunct charity specialist Whitewater have been have been sold to other firms.

DMS, United and Millennium, which all have charity clients, have been bought in the past few weeks.

The three firms were owned by Involve Marketing Partnership, the parent firm of the direct marketing agency Whitewater, which was liquidated in April with debts of £4.2m.

The sales came after Barclays Bank, which was owed £3.8m for Whitewater’s share of a cross-company guarantee for money lent to firms in the group, called in the loan. The sales will result in Involve’s closure because it has no subsidiary companies, according to Martin Smith, its chief executive.

DMS, which works with charity fundraisers, and its subsidiary United, which helps charities to promote their principles, were sold to Mosaic Print Management last week.  

Millennium, which specialises in marketing to older people, was sold to the business information firm Wilmington on 18 May for £465,000, a statement from Wilmington said.

DMS’s clients include the animal welfare charity Spana, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and Cats Protection.

United has worked with the cancer charity Clic Sargent and the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust. Millennium lists Age UK as one of its clients.

Elly Woolston, chair of DMS, said DMS and United sought a buyer after Whitewater got into trouble.

"DMS, United and Millennium are profitable," she said. "We needed to find new owners for DMS, United and Millennium, and we found an entrepreneur who is financially independent and has not had to borrow the money to make the purchase."

Woolston, Duncan Grey, creative partner at United, and Steven Dodds, planning partner at the firm, will retain part ownership of United.

Tony Gill, chief executive of Mosaic Print Management, will become chief executive of DMS. United and DMS will trade independently.

Smith said DMS and United had taken the decision to find a buyer. "We were the parent company at the time but we did not get involved in the sale of DMS," he said.

"Involve Marketing Partnership will no longer exist because the trading companies have been sold or liquidated. The group is not really relevant now."

In a statement, Gill said: "We are entrepreneurs at heart and enjoy the challenge of building and leading teams of talented people to drive growth through strong thinking, creativity and customer delivery – something these two agencies already excel at.

"This acquisition will complement both agencies’ offerings, giving current and prospective clients a complete integrated marketing service, from planning to execution. We are in this for the long term and look forward to making the agencies an even greater success."

The sales of the three firms come after the purchase of Whitewater’s in-memoriam fundraising website service Our Lasting Tribute by Valldata earlier this month.

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