Press Release: Conversion joins the Sideshow Group

Josh D'arcy

Sideshow Group signals ambitious growth plans with acquisition of Conversion.com

Independent marketing services group Sideshow has today acquired conversion rate optimisation specialist, Conversion.com, founded by CEO Stephen Pavlovich. Sideshow is a digital communications group that has been quietly building scale in recent years through strong organic growth and by acquiring progressive and innovative marketing businesses without needing external investment. It entered the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 in September 2019.

The purchase of Conversion increases headcount to 250 and turnover to around £30M, positioning Sideshow alongside high growth marketing services groups including S4, Stagwell and You & Mr Jones that have technology at the heart of their offer and are transforming the industry.

Sideshow’s considered and client-centric approach to M&A means they offer a range of truly joined up specialist services covering digital marketing and transformation, research, data, and customer experience for brands including BT, Experian, KFC, HSBC, Tesco and EDF Energy. Companies in the group include Bunnyfoot, Vertical Leap, Thinking Juice and Strawberry Soup.

Conversion has a client list that includes Canon, Domino’s and Facebook. It positions itself as an ‘experimentation’ agency that “improves customer experiences with data-driven experimentation” and provides a range of conversion rate optimisation services covering personalisation and product and pricing experimentation.

Tony Hill, founder of Sideshow comments: “Covid has accelerated the need for genuine client/agency partnerships that can support clients strategically and commercially. That’s always been our approach and Conversion is a best in class optimisation business with effectiveness at its core. We are building a group that will serve client needs now and into the future and Conversion sits in a real sweet spot as even more commercial transactions move online.

He adds: “The agency agenda has changed and a leading role has emerged that connects creativity with data, technology and conversion services that increasingly underpin the commercial decisions that clients make.”

Stephen Pavlovich, CEO at Conversion.com comments: “Culture has been one of the things that’s been really key to us as we’ve grown the business.  In Sideshow we’ve found a partner with very similar values. We are joining a vibrant group of entrepreneurial companies who are completely independent, with a strong growth agenda and that is a very exciting proposition.”

Waypoint Partners, a leading global growth and corporate finance advisory firm to the marketing services sector advised Conversion on their sale to Sideshow.

Matt Lacey, managing director at Waypoint explains: “The partnership of Conversion and Sideshow is a real meeting of minds, an example of two independents with shared values and a desire to be changemakers by bridging the worlds of transformation and marketing. The networks were already struggling and this difficult new world we find ourselves in is exposing their weaknesses even further. There is a significant opportunity for ambitious groups to make their mark and drive disruption; I believe the combination of Conversion and Sideshow is perfectly placed to do just that.”

Tony Hill concludes: “While we’ve been quietly validating our model and approach in recent years, we are now in a position to really focus on growth. We are ambitious and looking to make further acquisitions this year. Data and analytics, digital transformation, Amazon services and media are all in our sight, but ultimately it all comes down to the cultural fit. Only by having shared values and trust can you collaborate and share effectively.”

August 18th, 2020