Live Company Group PLC (LON:LVCG) Executive Chairman David Ciclitira caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss their acquisition of Bright Bricks.
Q1: David, can you tell us about the company Bright Bricks and why you’ve undergone the acquisition?
A1: Bright Bricks is a company we’ve known for some time.
As you know our main brand within the Group is BRICKLIVE, Bright Bricks are the leading builder of LEGO model in the world, that have in fact over 60% of the market share. We work very closely with them, this current year I think we’re their largest client, we’re building all the time or using their models all the time. We’ve talked previously about BRICKLIVE Animal Paradise, for example, that we’ve launched in September in Beijing and the Dallas show that’s happening next January, our show in Monaco over Christmas, they all have Bright Bricks models in them.
So, the ability to work with a company that produces everything we do on a close basis makes a lot of sense.
In reality, in financial terms, there’s a small additional benefit for us. We’re paying 30% margin on everything we do so for example, this year we will probably spend in excess of £2 million with Bright Bricks and that would mean a £400,000 to our bottom line. So, that’s an important element to us.
Q2: In what ways will you be working together with Bright Bricks in the future?
A2: Obviously, we’ll now be all one team. They have some very interesting existing concepts that we will basically seek to internationalise, they are basically a UK-based company and there are projects in development which will be announced shortly whereby they’ve done things in the UK which I know we can be learning very quickly around the globe.
The immediate thing we’re doing with them, I think that we will be increasing our content offering, in the year ahead it’s all going to be about Animal Paradise but I’m sure we’ll be working very shortly on other content such as dinosaurs and things like that. So, it will increase our content.
I think we’ll also be able to help their own UK position, we obviously have our super show at the NEC, they have been running smaller shows throughout the UK, if they’re all synchronised and branded properly, I think our combined UK business will also increase.
So, there’s lots and lots of things to do together and I know that the guys in Bright Bricks have got some amazingly good new ideas which we’re very excited about. I’m sure we’ll be able to help them develop and immediately internationalise.
Q3: What advantages does this give to Live Company Group?
A3: As I’ve just said, really, it’s all about synergy, it’s all about making what we’ve got better. We’re a pretty lean company in terms of people at BRICKLIVE, it’s a franchise-based model and we’ve been increasingly using Bright Bricks’ people to do our operations when we travel to different countries. What this means is we won’t have to build an operational structure within BRICKLIVE for example, there’s one already there in Bright Bricks.
So, there’s so many things that will be a plus both in terms of building growth and in financial terms and human terms bringing these people together.
Q4: One of the reasons for this acquisition, you mentioned, is expanding BRICKLIVE’s ability to grow. Can you explain this further?
A4: Basically, we’ve announced a BRICKLIVE Kids’ Café, for example, we’ve launched a test one in Seoul, we have contracts to take out into China multiple BRICKLIVE Kids’ Cafes, we already have people in Korea wanting to build on the franchise, we have people around the world interested in that project.
Using that as an example, everyone of these contains content, statues, models, whatever you want to call them, if we want to build new touring shows, they’re based around content, if we want to launch new centres around the world or anything that we basically do, they all contain this kind of content. So, without the ability to have automatic and, more much importantly, speedy access to building I think our growth would be held up so this really future-proofs our growth as a company.
Bright Bricks is a great brand, founded by Duncan and Ed. Duncan is known throughout the world for being one of the world’s great LEGO builders, Ed is arguably the same level, many people say it’s one day one, one day the other, they’re both amazingly great builders. The ability to integrate them into what we do is amazing, they have amazing ideas, Duncan was out in Beijing and it made a huge difference and he’ll be with us in Dallas.
Really, we’re going to launch a new brand with Duncan and I think a lot of this will be hugely successful in terms of this show, everybody likes to understand who the heroes are in the LEGO industry are, these two guys are just that.
So, people can come and understand how to do things, how they can grow their building skills and all that sort of stuff, it’s all additional about content. Both of them are passionate about education and this company BRICKLIVE and now BRICKLIVE and Bright Bricks is all about entertainment and education.
It really gives us a stronger portfolio. First, there’s the Executive Chairman Simon Horgan who I’ve known for a long time and, like me, he’s a veteran, and his skill and knowledge of the exhibition business is unrivalled. He launched Dubai World Trade Centre, he also founded ADNEC for the guys in Abu Dhabi, much younger he was the CEO at the NEC, this guy has amazing contacts and knowledge so we’re very lucky that he’s going to join our main Board so that’s all fantastic for us.
Q5: What other aspects of the Live Company Group business will you be expanding?
A5: We announced, about 10 days ago, about education and our tie up with ImmersiveMinds and Stephen Reid. We’re very keen at BRICKLIVE to build on the educational capacity, not just using the LEGO bricks but other areas that are complimentary, I think that the ability to have an idea in education, immediately build it, work with Bright Bricks is fantastic.
That goes on I think to the other point of our news today, we’ve expanded our Board. As well as Simon, we also have a new CFO, who has been our interim CFO, Brian Lawrie, he’s been fantastic, we love him, and we think he likes us, so we’ve now got a great CFO.
Then there’s Trudy, Trudy is, as you can see in the RNS, an exceptional candidate, she has a very senior post at Microsoft, is passionate about what we want to do with education, so she is incredibly busy, but I’m really honoured that she’s joined our Board and is going to spend time helping us grow the BRICKLIVE brand.