Cordiant buys LGN to build design expertise

Fitch parent Lighthouse Global Network is to be acquired by UK-based worldwide advertising and marketing network Cordiant Communications Group for approximately £392m.

The deal, creating the tenth largest communications group in the world, sees Cordiant emerging as an important owner of design and branding groups. Aside from Fitch and its five sister groups forming Lighthouse’s design arm, Cordiant recently acquired PSD Associates (DW 23 June) and also owns the HP:ICM events group.

Fitch will form the basis of Cordiant’s new design and branding arm, now consisting of eight consultancies, which have hitherto been part of Cordiant’s 141 Worldwide marketing group, within ad agency Bates Worldwide.

Lighthouse comprises three operating divisions: design and branding, its biggest, which was worth £48m last year; marketing services, worth £17m, and its business communications arm, which is worth £33m.

According to Cordiant chief executive Michael Bungey, “The acquisition brings us two new high growth business streams in design and branding and business communications, and will add critical mass to our existing marketing services operation.”

“Lighthouse is another important step towards our goal of becoming one of the world’s leading marketing communications groups and further enhances our value in a rapidly consolidating industry,” adds Bungey.

The transaction is set to be completed in the third quarter of the year, subject to Cordiant shareholder approval. The UK group is listed on the London and New York Stock Exchanges. Shareholders owning 87 per cent of Lighthouse also have to ratify the deal, but have committed to vote in favour of it.

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