In-store marketing pioneer MediaZest to be floated

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MEDIAZEST, WHICH provides in-store marketing tools to retailers, is planning to float on the Alternative Investment Market this month.

It will be the second spin-off this year from Moore Clayton, a private equity group. Moore Clayton's MCC Energy, a renewable energy adviser chaired by Marconi's chairman, John Devaney, was floated last week.

With retailers under increasing pressure to persuade customers to buy, in-store displays, advertising and broadcasting are becoming more advanced. MediaZest, established by Moore Clayton in 2003, has been acquiring technology developments that help retailers to influence the buying patterns of customers on the premises. One of its recent purchases is technology known as Whispering Windows, which turns windows, or other flat surfaces, into speakers, which pour out messages or specially targeted music and sounds to passing shoppers. One of its customers is Lunn Poly, the travel agency, which informs passers- by of offers available in-store.

It is also developing "odour-based" marketing tools. Supermarkets already position bakery sections to play on the smell of baking to lure in customers. MediaZest is developing a "smell of money" concept for financial services groups, which uses the smell of printing ink to evoke the image of crisp new banknotes in potential customers.

Other MediaZest acquisitions include an in-store display company, an in-store radio operator, and a plasma screen specialist.

It plans to raise just pounds 2.5m from the float, which it will use for further acquisitions. This will value the company at about pounds 7.5m. Some 30 per cent of the business will be floated, with the rest retained by Moore Clayton, management and other private investors.