Digital marketing company Zone acquired by Cognizant

As a result of the acquisition, private equity firm BGF has agreed to successfully exit its investment in Zone

Zone, a UK-based digital marketing company, has announced it has agreed to be acquired by US IT firm Cognizant.

Expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017, subject to satisfaction of certain closing conditions, financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

London-based, Zone provides a range of digital marketing services including customer experience, digital strategy and content creation.

Established in 2000, it counts the likes of Adidas, Aviva, Barratt Homes, Deutsche Telekom, Maersk, Marks & Spencer and Unilever among its clients.

Upon the close of the acquisition, Zone’s more than 220 digital agency experts will become part of the Cognizant Digital Business practice.

Zone will retain its offices in London and Bristol, as well as in Cologne, Germany.

As a result of the impending deal, private equity firm BGF has agreed to successfully exit its investment in Zone – first investing in the business back in February 2015.

One of the most active private equity firms operating within the small business space, BGF has a fund of around £2.5bn which it uses to invest in firms across a range of sectors.

One of its founding partners, Simon Calver, is a judge for the Startups Awards 2017.

The former chief executive of LOVEFiLM, Calver launched BGF alongside MMC Ventures’ Rory Stirling and Balderton Capital’s Harry Briggs back in 2015.

James Freedman, co-founder and executive chairman of Zone, said:

“The investment from BGF helped us make a significant step-change in the past three years. BGF provided both capital and expertise as we opened in Germany and scaled at home.

“Now we’re excited about working with Cognizant on the next stage of our evolution.”

Ben Kirby, a BGF investor who served on the board of Zone, said:

“Zone has been entirely resolute in their ambitions to grow the company and provide an unrivalled digital offering to their clients. They have scaled through well-considered acquisitions and expansion in Europe.

“This has been a successful partnership for both BGF and Zone and we are pleased that in this next phase, Zone and the team can benefit from Cognizant’s extensive reach, particularly in the US.”