Envoy starts UK network by buying Parker Williams

Envoy Communications of Canada has acquired London packaging consultancy Parker Williams for £1.18m.

The marketing network, which owns Toronto retail specialist Watt International and Leeds reprographics house Watt Gilchrist, has secured a 65 per cent stake in the British consultancy, with options to buy more over time. The remaining shares will continue to be held by the senior management at Parker Williams.

Envoy is actively seeking further design acquisitions in the UK and North America, though according to Nick Jupe, managing director of Envoy’s UK acquisition vehicle ECG Holdings, the approach will continue to be ‘very softly softly’.

‘Envoy has been looking for acquisitions in the UK and North America for a while now, but this is our first transaction in the UK. We are talking to a number of groups in the UK and are looking for complementary partnerships,’ he says. ‘I would expect them to be around the same size as Parker Williams, if not slightly bigger.’

Jupe explains that the Envoy strategy is to build a vertically integrated offer in the retail space, which might well include further marketing, print, or branding tie-ups in the future.

Parker Williams partner Tamara Williams says the deal will enable the group to share knowledge and referrals with the fast-moving North American retail market. The deal will not be used to fuel a growth initiative, she adds.

‘As far as we’re concerned, it’s business as usual here. Any change whatsoever would take a lot of consideration and the senior management team doesn’t have any plans to move on in the medium term. We see this as about taking us to the next level,’ says Williams.

Parker Williams employs 28 staff and earned £1.91m in design fees last year.

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