MetaDesign in merger mystery

MetaDesign London directors have declined to comment on industry reports that the consultancy is close to “merging” with a Scandinavian Internet group.

It is not known whether such a merger, or sale, of the business would split the London office from its Berlin base. MetaDesign is a privately-owned company, which was founded by typographer Erik Spiekermann.

The UK office, MetaDesign London, was formed in 1995, as the consultancy’s third base. Originally called MetaUnion, it was the result of a merger forged between Spiekermann and Union Design, the group set up by managing director Robin Richmond and creative director Tim Fendley four years previously.

Richmond and Fendley are the principal owners of the London venture, with a further stake held by Spiekermann. Meta’s US arm, MetaWest in San Francisco, which was set up in 1992.

Although the identity of the prospective merger partner is not known, potential candidates include Icon Medialab International and Adera, two Sweden-based new media specialists.

Icon Medialab UK managing director Erik Wickstrom declines to confirm or deny the reports. “We are in talks with many parties… and if that’s Meta or anyone else, it is not something I can talk about,” he says.

Icon already has 18 offices around the world, including a London base, and last month acquired New York rival Nicholson NY. It is listed in Stockholm and is 20 per cent owned by the Interpublic Group.

Meta’s London office is currently registered at Companies House as MetaUnion Design, but is commonly referred to as MetaDesign London.

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