December 13, 2017, Brighton UK — A managing director of one the South East United Kingdom’s leading PR companies, Caraline Brown MSc FCIPR from Midnight Communications, has announced that she has sold both sides of her business.
The PR company has been sold to two members of the current Midnight management team, whilst the events side has been acquired by Platinum Event Management.
Caraline founded Midnight Communications in 1995 with nothing but a £2K overdraft and a strong belief that the Internet would grow and flourish. It was the very first PR company in the UK to focus on internet businesses and start-ups. Caraline went on to lead Midnight to win around 60 peer-judged awards, including PR Week’s national PR Company of the Year, a number of ‘Best in the South East’ awards and two lifetime achievement awards – as well as being named one of the most influential people in PR by PR Week on a number of occasions.
The company doubled turnover year on year in its first five years – a feat rarely matched since – and was sold in 2001 to the AIM-listed BV Group, which Caraline went on to lead as CEO, before buying the company back in 2003.
Along the way Midnight has trained some of the PR luminaries of today with at least five ex-staff now in top jobs in leading named PR agencies. Over the last 13 years a member of the Midnight team has been a finalist or winner of the coveted title of Chartered Institute of Public Relations Young Professional of the Year.
The new owners of Midnight, Alex Hankinson and Flo Powell, have been with Midnight seven years and four years respectively. Commenting on the acquisition they said: “We feel deeply honoured to be taking Caraline’s fantastic 23-year legacy forward.
“When we first joined Midnight we were both struck by how Caraline had successfully created a boutique service-focused business with the standards and professionalism you’d only usually get from a large London network agency. We have a really special culture here and it’s one we are keen to preserve and nurture.
“This is an exciting new chapter in Midnight’s story and we’re proud to see in the New Year with a fantastic roster of clients and an amazing team by our side.
“We wish Caraline all the very best with her new adventures. She will always be part of the Midnight family.”
The events side of Midnight, which handles the Sussex Business Awards and the Brighton and Hove Business Awards, has been acquired by Platinum Events Management. Fiona Graves, who has been with Midnight working on its events portfolio since 2006, joins the new company to head up the growing awards division which will also stage the Surrey Business Awards.
Maarten Hoffmann, CEO of The Platinum Group, says: “The Platinum Group is delighted to have acquired these award schemes. Midnight has worked tirelessly for over a decade to build them into the most prestigious in the region and Platinum is determined to uphold that reputation.
“As Platinum currently publishes the four largest circulation business magazines in the South East with a massive readership, it was an obvious fit that, in addition to be the media partner, we should become the organisers of these events.
“Platinum looks forward to taking the awards to the next level and continuing the great work carried out by Midnight.”
Commenting on the sale of Midnight, Caraline said: “I have spent the best years of my life at Midnight. As they say, it’s been a journey. But I hope the best is in front of both me and it.
“Let no one use the ‘R’ word. I am still available for parties and bar mitzvahs and look forward to embracing some new challenges.”
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Flo joined Midnight in 2013 as an Account Director and has previously held a number of Director level roles.
During her time at Midnight, Flo has spearheaded numerous award-winning campaigns including Sussex Digital Awards 2017: Best Use of Video for Business (BRITA Vivreau); CIPR 2016: Corporate and Business Communications Campaign (Thomas Eggar); CIPR 2015: Arts, Culture or Sport Campaign (Arundel Castle); Consumer Relations Campaign and Regional Campaign of the Year (Sea Life Brighton).
Flo holds a first-class BA and an NVQ Level 5 in Leadership and was named as one of the top 100 most influential women in the Hospitality, Leisure, Travel & Tourism Industries by Women 1st in 2011.
Alex Hankinson is a strategic PR specialist with 16 years’ experience developing PR programmes closely aligned to clients’ commercial objectives and 10 years on management teams at leading PR agencies in London and Brighton.
Alex has lead a wide range of b2b and b2c campaigns at Midnight, scooping 13 awards on behalf of Sky Sports Living for Sport and Youth Sport Trust, including CIPR South Gold Awards – Best Use of Planning, Measurement & Evaluation, Best use of Social Media, Best Sports campaign.
She has been a member of the management team at Midnight since 2010.
She is a modern languages graduate and holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Publishing.