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Almost a quarter of a century after Wayne Sidwell with his brothers sold Show Ads to PMP for $174m, he has sold his new venture Wellcom for $265m, to Korean ad agency Innocean.

Sold: Wayne Sidwell sells Wellcom to Korean ad agency for $265m
Sold: Wayne Sidwell sells Wellcom to Korean ad agency for $265m

The directors of Wellcom unanimously recommended a $6.70 a share cash offer, a 27.6 per cent premium to yesterday's close of $5.25, and well ahead of the one year high of $5.70.

Wellcom shares soared on the deal, surging by 29 per cent.

The deal represents the end of an era for one of Australian print's premier families, although they will still be playing a major part in the business under the new owners. Under the takeover deal Sidwell will retain his 15 per cent of the company. 

Sidwell, Wellcom's chairman, says Innocean's offer reflects Wellcom's leading market position and the strength of its underlying businesses.

"It will be business as usual under Innocean's ownership, and I am looking forward to continuing with Wellcom as an executive and shareholder," he says.

"Innocean's ownership will provide a great opportunity for Wellcom's businesses and people by offering a larger geographical footprint and new opportunities in complementary business channels.”

Innocean is a global ad agency associated with the giant Kia Hyundai automotive business. Last year it booked profits of $155m on revenue of $1.5bn. Other clients include Canon, Sony and Heineken.

Wellcom is regarded as one of the biggest success stories in the history of Australian print, with the management able to develop the business to be an international player that makes profits year in year out while continuing to grow, by offering innovative meet-the-need services to the market.

In February Wellcom announced a five per cent rise in first half revenue to $79.95m. After tax profit was up 11 per cent to $6.6m.

Wellcom, founded in 2000 and headquartered in Melbourne, services brands internationally from its operations in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the US, Malaysia, and India. 

It was started by Sidwell in 2000 after his family sold the Show Ads Omega business to PMP in 1996. Five years later Sidwell successfully floated the business.

He initially established it as a quality offset printer, but it morphed into a full service pre-media business. Winning the Woolworths contract in 2002 doubled the company's turnover and sent it into a much bigger space, one which Sidwell, and latterly his son Andrew as CEO, have steered with consistent success.

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