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North East e-commerce agency Fostr has been acquired by leading digital agency group, IDHL.

Creating high-quality buying experiences, Fostr has built an enviable reputation designing and building e-commerce sites on the Shopify Plus platform for some of the biggest and fastest-growing global luxury, fashion and beauty brands.

These include Gymshark, Victoria Beckham and Beach House Group (“Moon” with Kendall Jenner, Millie Bobby Brown’s “Florence by Mills” and “Pattern Beauty” by Tracee Ellis Ross), many of which are based internationally.

Newcastle-upon-Tyne-based Fostr, which was founded by Director Ryan Foster in 2009, is set to benefit from IDHL’s acquisitive growth strategy, with the ability to leverage a proprietary platform and operational infrastructure that supports its growth ambitions.

For IDHL, the addition of Fostr opens new verticals as well as the opportunity to further build its international presence, particularly in the US, whilst strengthening its eCommerce capability at a point of growth in the industry.

Following the acquisition, Ryan will continue to lead Fostr, along with Director Emma Robinson, working in close collaboration with IDHL’s leadership team to integrate and grow the business as part of the network of agencies.

Ryan Foster, founder of Fostr, said: “IDHL is one of the fastest-growing digital marketing groups in the UK, which will provide Fostr with a springboard to further growth and the ability to offer our existing customer base a broader suite of services.

“I am exceptionally proud of the progress we have made as a business over the past decade, which is testament to the talent of our team and the support of our excellent clients. We are looking forward to the next stage of our journey with IDHL.”

Dennis Engel, Chief Executive at IDHL, said: “Welcoming Fostr to the group significantly boosts the scale of our web division to create a UK leading Shopify capability, all while supporting our ambitions for international growth.”

Harrogate-based IDHL is quickly establishing itself as a northern powerhouse with the connected agency group now employing over 300 people across its eight specialist agencies in prominent digital cities including Leeds, Manchester and London.

The backing of Private Equity investor, Bridgepoint Development Capital (BDC), provides IDHL with significant funding along with international support to enable the group to further expand its capabilities and reach to better serve its ever-growing client base both here in the UK and internationally.

Providing corporate finance advice to the Fostr shareholders was Ryecroft Glenton Corporate Finance (RGCF) Partner and Head of Corporate Finance Carl Swansbury, CF Director Rhiannon Nightingale and CF Manager Connor McBride. Specialist tax advice was provided by RG’s Simon Whiteside and Liz Rothery.

Legal advice was provided by Square One Law’s Head of Corporate Mark Lazenby and Corporate Partner Ashraf Ali.

IDHL was advised by Squire Patton Boggs, led by Louisa Hine with tax and financial due diligence provided by a team at Grant Thornton, led by Bob McDermott and Declan Ramsay.

Rhiannon Nightingale, CF Director at Newcastle-based RGCF, said: “This acquisition will generate positive collaboration between two dynamic and progressive digital businesses. Fostr is a real success story in the Shopify Plus space, which can make tangible progress on its scale-up journey by being part of IDHL, as a resourceful organisation with excellent infrastructure to support its agency network.”

Ashraf Ali, Corporate Partner at Square One Law, said: “The ability to utilise pooled resources and contribute to cross-selling between IDHL group members is very attractive for Fostr. It has built a strong niche with luxury brands, which will benefit from the business being part of a larger organisation and enable them to access a broader range of services.”

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