Identica and Tango merge

The Identica Partnership has merged with Tango Design as part of a deal with Tango’s ad agency parent Bartle Bogle Hegarty. The deal, which was due to be signed as Design Week went to press, creates a combined through-the-line design business, earning 10m in turnover and with more than 90 staff.

Under the deal, retail graphics specialist Tango becomes part of Identica, but retains its name and operates as a separate profit centre. BBH takes a 21 per cent shareholding in Identica, described by Identica executive creative director and managing partner Michael Peters as “a passive holding”.

Tango managing director Sarah Bratt and creative director Peter Rae will join Identica’s seven-strong management team. This team is chaired by Peters, who also chairs Identica’s board of directors. The two groups will relocate to shared premises in west London in January.

BBH will have no representation on the Identica board, but this will not preclude collaboration with Identica or Tango on projects. It has already worked with Identica on the Mercury One 2 One account and Tango has followed through BBH’s Levi’s ad concept to in-store promotions for the jeans company.

According to Peters, BBH has “swapped ownership” of Tango “to help it to grow strategically”. Tango’s expertise in retail graphics “at the point of engagement” for clients such as Dockers, Nike and Ray-Ban complement Identica’s brand communication and identity skills, he says. Bratt says the merger “will enable Tango to develop the unique offer to its full potential”.

Peters describes BBH’s 21 per cent stake in Identica as “accountancy logic”. It represents the value of Tango’s business in relation to Identica’s.

Identica, set up in 1992 and now 75-strong, has seen 30 per cent growth to 7m in turnover this year; 12-year-old Tango has 16 staff, with turnover of 3m representing 15 per growth this year. Both groups are looking to expand and anticipate a further 15 per cent growth next year.

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