Gloucestershire digital marketing agency acquired by French group after global growth

A digital marketing agency in Gloucestershire that was among the South West winners of The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise last year has been acquired for an undisclosed sum.

Cheltenham-based Ocere, which helps clients to grow their businesses online by bringing them greater visibility on search engines, has been acquired by French digital marketing group JVWEB.

Founded in 2009 by University of Gloucestershire graduate turned entrepreneur Tom Parling, Ocere received royal recognition following a period of rapid revenue growth, including a +113% rise in 2020, and a 63% upturn in 2021.

The business serves over 220 clients globally across sectors such as gaming, tech and finance, and employs around 20 people. It posted a total revenue of around £5m last year.

JVWEB said the acquisition of Ocere, which it called a “major player” in SEO, would support its strategy to strengthen its international network, for which it raised £20.8m last year, and support its double-digit growth.

The Montpellier-headquartered firm is looking to add to its international presence having already opened offices in Geneva and Shanghai.

Mr Parling, a former recipient of the Young Business Person of the Year Award at the Gloucestershire Business Awards, said the move was a “win-win” for both companies and their clients.

Mr Parling said: “After a nine-month intense process, yielding significant global interest I was immediately attracted to the proposition from JVWEB and Capital Croissance.

“Their values, mindset and ambitions are aligned with ours – and they bring a sharpness to the table that is familiar and mirrors what has made Ocere so successful in recent years.

“We are excited to become part of an ambitious international group, develop our service offerings and continually improve our proposition to clients worldwide.”

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Jonathan Vidor, founder and chief executive of JVWEB, said the deal was an “exciting step forward” for the group’s European development.

Mr Vidor said: “I am very happy that Ocere is joining JVWEB, we share the same strategic vision, values and desire for development in Europe. This allows us to offer a complete SEO offering to our clients – strategy, on-site, link acquisition, content – and also to develop our expertise in Google ads and social ads in the United Kingdom and beyond.

“The UK is an important and exciting market for us, representing the largest European market and a valuable gateway to the English-speaking worldwide population of over 1.2bn people.”

Ocere was advised on the deal by Darren Murphy at Rafalie Corporate Finance while Guy-Hubert de Fougères at Capital Croissance advised JVWEB.

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