Obviously becoming a listed company comes with certain accountabilities, such as the stress of reporting, managing short-term shareholder needs with longer-term strategy, and further strains found within the reams of reporting bureaucracy. This is unavoidable, and something that not even the likes of Alibaba would be able to avoid in their own endeavours.
But ultimately, the IPO news is the best possible outcome for the people that rely on the Cannes Lions festival to recognise their talent, because it means the sanctity and impartiality of the business will remain intact.
It was obvious that at some point Ascential, better known as its former incarnation, Top Right Group, would divest its interest in the business at some point. My concern however, which I’m sure was shared by others, was that Cannes Lions would get eaten up by another business-to-business or events group.
This outcome would have led to it being managed as part of a portfolio of other business events unrelated to advertising and ultimately would have seen the organisers forced to compromise on budget, or forced to change the business model behind the awards to meet the demands of a new owner and likely destroy what is currently the most prestigious of ceremonies in our industry.
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