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Emap Buys Cannes Lions for $96.5M

British publisher and events organizer Emap Communications bought the International Advertising Festival, better known as Cannes Lions, for $96.5 million yesterday.

The seller was WJB Chiltern Trust Company (Jersey) Ltd., an offshore trust. A 51-year-old festival, Cannes Lions is held yearly in the French resort of Cannes and attended by advertising, marketing and creative executives.

Emap bought Cannes Lions “because it's the most prestigious ad industry festival in the world, and it's completely unique,” said Mike Jones, director of Emap Media, the London-based division that will supervise Cannes Lions.

Terry Savage will continue to run Cannes Lions as CEO, with all current staff supporting him. Roger Hatchuel is the retiring chairman of the festival.

This year's Cannes Lions in June attracted more than 18,700 advertising entries worldwide in categories such as TV/cinema, print, outdoor, online, direct marketing and media. Entries were up 14 percent over the year before, with more than 100 client companies represented.

Though it is new to the direct marketing category, Cannes Lions is rapidly competing with the Direct Marketing Association's Echo and New York's Caples Awards for supremacy. More U.S. agencies are submitting entries for judging, though they have not fared well in the DM category.

Cannes Lions was in Emap's line of sight for about six years. The publisher will look to increase advertiser and ad agency attendance and participation, and create new categories like radio next year.

A force in European media and marketing, Emap publishes titles in Europe. The company owns TV creative title shots, and the Brad, Genesis and Alf magazines for media buying tools, as well as Media & Marketing Europe, a publication for ad agency executives and marketing directors. Other titles include global film weekly Screen International and Broadcast, a magazine for the British TV industry. All are under the aegis of the Emap Media unit.

“We publish market-leading magazines in each sector, and events in each sector, and Cannes Lions is the leader in its sector,” Jones said. “We're always interested in looking at market-leading magazines and market-leading events in the media sector worldwide.”

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