11 Jun 2015 GDI Media – a Contributor Owned and Listed Agency
GDI Media first announced their ambitious intentions last year. The company will be a stock agency with some twists. First, they will be contributor-owned, including agencies who can fold their business into GDI. Second, they’ll be listed on AIM – a secondary trading market in London.
Yesterday the company announced the availability of their Information Memorandum (PDF), which includes the Contributor Agreement and Participation Application to become a shareholder. With GDI you can both contribute and buy a piece of the action.
What’s the deal?
With GDI you can be a contributor, a shareholder, or both, though you can’t be a shareholder if you’re not also a contributor until they list. At the moment they are inviting agencies and individual content producers to sign up to become contributors. Funds are held in escrow and convert to shares upon admission to AIM.
Agencies are able to fold their entire collection and business into GDI. Photoshot, the agency founded and owned by GDI’s founder, which currently does £1.75 Million in annual revenue, will be one such company.
Editorial agencies will be a springboard for the company, leveraging the current “opportunities” available in that sector. Once operational, the company will launch a microstock agency, which they consider will be the biggest part of the business.
Their roadmap includes the addition of vectors, audio and video footage, as well as assignment services in photography.
Why do it this way?
The main reason behind creating a co-op model is that the value and success of the agency are owned by the image producers supplying the content for it. It also provides a ‘way out’ for other agencies who are struggling with the current challenging market conditions. They can essentially sell their business into GDI, getting a liquid asset in return (shares) and boosting the value, reach and size of GDI. GDI have said they’re in advanced conversations with over 40 agencies about this option.
Listing the company on AIM means that owners will have an easier time trading ownership. It also enables an initial round of funding as those who buy in at the start are investing the capital GDI will need to grow the business. They’ll be raising up to £3.6 million in cash.
What is AIM?
Previously known as the ‘Alternative Investment Market’, it’s a secondary market run by the London Stock Exchange. It has more relaxed reporting requirements than the main board, making it to be easier for a company to be admitted.
However, it’s less liquid than the main board. It’s not quite as easy to buy or sell your shares, and you won’t be able to follow them in the stock tracking app on your smartphone.
Who’s behind it?
Charles Taylor is founder, owner and MD of Photoshot, and the primary driver behind GDI Media. When GDI lists and Photoshot folds into it, he will become the full-time MD of GDI Media.
Daniel Hodson is currently Chairman of GDI. He has a strong background in high level marketing and financial business, from CEO to chairman of several companies, in a British university and a charity foundation.
Where can I read more and apply?
The laws surrounding pre-listing businesses are complex, so you need to get an invite to view the website. It’s not available to everyone, but the fastest way to apply is by emailing Charles directly.