Rodney Fitch in WTS deal talks

By Andy Gilgrist and Bhavna Mistry

Rodney Fitch has emerged as the latest potential investor in branding consultancy Wickens Tutt Southgate.

Fitch admits to having been in discussions with WTS but “nothing has come of it yet”, according to a spokesman for Rodney Fitch Design Consultants. Fitch was unavailable to comment on speculation that his consultancy is looking to expand its packaging and brands offer.

A WTS spokeswoman says any suggestion that Rodney Fitch is poised to buy a controlling stake in WTS is “not true”. But she admits that WTS is “looking for a potential partner”.

Despite long-standing rumours of a debt or cashflow crisis at the packaging group, the WTS spokeswoman denies there is any desperation in the search for an investor: “There is no question of WTS having to find someone quickly,” she says.

Rodney Fitch’s interest in WTS follows similar discussions between WTS and other suitors, notably Princedale, parent of MPL, and WPP Group, which numbers Coley Porter Bell among its design interests. A WPP takeover was thought to be imminent last week but talks were called off. WPP will not comment on its discussions with WTS or why a deal failed to happen.

The idea that WPP would buy into WTS surprised insiders at corporate and branding consultancy Coley Porter Bell, which already competes with fellow WPP stablemate Sampson Tyrrell Enterprise for corporate work.

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