NEW YORK/LONDON: Ascential, the global B2B business which operates the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, is acquiring MediaLink, the US-based advisory and business services firm.

The deal is expected to benefit both parties, extending Ascential's presence in marketing while expanding MediaLink's sphere of operations around the world.

"We were attracted to MediaLink for its deep relationships with marketers," said Duncan Painter, Chief Executive Officer of Ascential.

The Wall Street journal noted that MediaLink founder and CEO Michael Kassan has high-profile connections ranging from Madison Avenue to Hollywood. He is considered "one of the most looped-in executives in the ad and media business", it said.

"MediaLink is an excellent fit with our existing Ascential offering," Painter added, "and I am confident we can help accelerate MediaLink's business into new markets by using our assets and infrastructure over the coming months and years."

Kassan described the deal as a "a transformational moment" for his company. "The reality is this is about getting feet on the street in London and Hong Kong," he said.

MediaLink already works with Cannes Lions' customers and has done since 2011. It will continue to build on its relationship with Cannes Lions and start new ones with other Ascential products where appropriate.

Neutrality is a key focus of both businesses, however, and they will be run independently, with Kassan continuing in his role as chairman and CEO of MediaLink, which will operate as part of Ascential's Information Services division. Painter stated that this has a "clear line of demarcation" from the events side of the business, such as the Cannes Lions.

Data sourced from Ascential, Wall Street Journal, Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff