HURST Advises BJL on its Sale to Dentsu Aegis Network

Posted: Feb 21, 2019
Nigel Barratt

Nigel Barratt, head of HURST Corporate Finance, has advised the shareholders of Manchester-based creative agency BJL on its sale to Dentsu Aegis Network.


BJL, which was founded in 1987, has grown into one of the biggest and most awarded independent creative agencies in the region, expanding into London in 2014.

It employs 75 people who work with a diverse range of consumer and business-to-business clients, such as Craghoppers, BASF, Pilkington, Ronseal, Skipton Building Society, Subaru Europe, Florette, Hilton, and The Co-operative Bank.

BJL’s expertise in brand strategy, content production, public relations, social media, and customer relationship management complements Dentsu Aegis Network’s already significant media, digital, data, and technology capabilities in the region, and further strengthens the network’s ability to deliver more effective solutions for clients.

BJL will continue to be led by Nicky Unsworth as chief executive, Jackie Holt as managing partner and Iain Kerr as commercial director. The trio completed a management buyout of BJL in 2004.

The agency’s Manchester and London teams will remain in their existing offices.

Nigel said: “BJL has been a HURST client for many years. We supported the shareholders on their management buyout in 2004 so it’s really pleasing to have continued that support through to this significant transaction, which is a perfect fit for BJL and Dentsu Aegis Network. We wish BJL and its shareholders every success in the future.”

Nigel Barratt  

Nigel Barratt, Head of HURST Corporate Finance

Nicky Unsworth said: “During our 30-year history we have enjoyed strong growth thanks to our longstanding and successful relationships with our clients as well as our unwavering commitment to delivering standout work.

“Having built our integrated model around the changing needs of brands and their consumers, we are ready now to embark on the next phase of our growth as part of Dentsu Aegis Network.”

Dentsu Aegis North employs 700 people across Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, and Newcastle, providing media, digital, creative, data and technology services for clients such as N Brown Group, Pets at Home, ThomasCook, Halfords and Holland & Barrett. The acquisition of BJL further demonstrates the group’s commitment to strengthening capabilities across the UK.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Legal advice was provided to the BJL shareholders by a team at TLT LLP led by Ian Roberts.

If you're considerng your exit strategy and would like to speak to a member of our Corporate Finance team, you can either call on 0161 477 2474 or email