The company, which will operate under a new brand to be announced later this summer, starts life with gross assets of around £8.6 million in the form of ongoing outsourced database hosting and marketing services agreements. As the majority shareholder in the new business, Sky will also be the largest client.
Duncan Painter will become managing director of the venture, resuming a relationship with Sky that first started in 2003 when it licensed the ClarityBlue platform. Experian subsequently bought that company for £85 million in 2006.
Jim Hodgkins, managing director of Experian Marketing Services, says the new venture is an important step in defining more clearly the proposition of both his division and the new business. “When we did our strategic analysis of where we want to play, this particular market segment is commoditised. So we were seeking to achieve greater differentiation,” he says.
The Sky venture will continue with large-scale, long-term database projects and will hold Experian data assets and the Elements database software under licence. Experian Marketing Services will concentrate on multi-channel, digital marketing and analytics through its Cheetahmail, Hitwise, QAS and Experian Integrated Marketing offerings.
Hodgkins points out that the assets transferred into the joint venture represent less than 1 per cent of Experian group’s annual revenues. “I believe this is the best way forward for this part of the business. Sky has been very influential for this part of the business and, for other clients, having their involvement will be of great benefit,” he says.