Cannes Film Festival entrance
Ascential will issue a £450 million special dividend and a £400 million purchase of shares / Image source: Adobe
  • Full year revenue up 13% to £206.4 million
  • £450 million special dividend expected
  • Shares up 18% over the past year

Shares in Ascential (ASCL) were up nearly 3% to 307p in morning trading as the events outfit and information provider reported a 13% rise in revenue to £206.4 million for the year ending 31 December.

Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest taxation depreciation and amortisation) was up 17% to £56.4 million compared to £49.9 million in the same year ago period.


Separately the company said it would return £850 million to shareholders ‘through a combination of tender offer, special dividend and on-market buyback programmes’.

Ascential will issue a £450 million special dividend and undertake a £400 million purchase of shares.

The share buyback programme was announced last October when the company sold its digital commerce and product design business for a total of £1.2 billion to advertising group Omnicom (OMC:NYSE) and Wind UK Bidco 3.

Shareholder approval will be needed for the programme to go ahead. It will be sought at Ascential’s upcoming annual general meeting in May.

Ascential shares rise 35% after selling two businesses to Omnicom, Apax


The company reported robust growth from its marketing division – revenue was up 22%. Cannes Lions revenue grew by 30% led by sponsorship.

Going forward the company is continuing with cost reductions saying, ‘ongoing corporate costs from 2024 onwards are expected to be approximately 50% lower than 2023 at £13 million’.

Philip Thomas, Ascential CEO said: ‘Looking ahead to 2024, we continue to see positive customer engagement, with booking levels for our events tracking in line with prior year indicators overall.

‘Notwithstanding ongoing disruption to the Fintech funding environment, we are excited by the continued expansion of our end market and global footprint through the launch of Money20/20 Asia.

‘This continuing momentum, following on from our strong post pandemic bounce-back, supports our confidence in our medium-term growth targets and ambitions.’


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Issue Date: 21 Mar 2024