Design groups and Virgin split

VIRGIN GROUP, Rodney Fitch & Co and Wickens Tutt Southgate have ended their formal relationship by selling their mutual shareholdings.

VIRGIN GROUP, Rodney Fitch & Co and Wickens Tutt Southgate have ended their formal relationship by selling their mutual shareholdings.

Rodney Fitch has bought Virgin’s 50 per cent stake in his consultancy, while selling his majority stake in WTS to founders Mark Wickens and Paul Southgate.

It has also emerged that last month Virgin sold its 20 per cent stake in design group Clinic, making that consultancy 100 per cent self-owned. None of the companies will disclose financial details of the transactions.

Although no move had been made to fully integrate WTS and Rodney Fitch & Co, the two consultancies had sought to work jointly on projects. Directors from both groups confirm the low number of such opportunities has been a disappointment.

But all involved parties decline to comment on claims that the deal was carried out to rescue Rodney Fitch & Co from an increasing burden of debt owed to Virgin, accrued after difficult trading conditions due to the financial crisis in Asia.

Sources close to the groups say Virgin has written off a debt, alleged to stretch to somewhere in the region of 2m, owed by Rodney Fitch & Co.

See News Analysis, page 8.

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