Social media agency Simply Zesty acquired by UTV plc

6 Mar 2012

Pictured: Niall Harbison and Lauren Fisher

Simply Zesty, a social media agency sparked by an online conversation and begun in a spare bedroom three years ago, has been acquired by TV and internet player UTV plc for about stg£1.7m, potentially rising to stg£5m, depending upon future trading performance.

The company was founded when former chef Niall Harbison and ex-PR person Lauren Fisher stuck a chord on their views on where social media and marketing were headed.

Throwing caution to the wind Simply Zesty was founded in a spare bedroom somewhere in south Dublin

Within a year or so the company attracted investment from The Oxford Research Agency to the tune of €500,000 and moved to new offices on St Stephen’s Green as well as London.

The company, which employs 22 people, has engaged in social media strategy work for Vodafone, Nokia, Sony, eBookers, Volkswagen, Enterprise Ireland and Teradata.

“We are incredibly excited about what the acquisition will bring for us,” Zesty said in its blog.

“We see this as a huge opportunity to continue to aggressively grow the business, with UTV’s backing. As for our clients and readers it will pretty much be business as usual. We will continue to trade as Simply Zesty in our current office, with all the added benefits of being under the UTV umbrella.”

It is understood that UTV intends to include Simply Zesty in its portfolio of traditional and new media services. A few years ago UTV plc acquired Belfast and Dublin-based web design agency Tibus.

Simply Zesty said the editorial independence of its social media blog will be unaffected by the acquisition.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years