Industry reports this week suggest WPP Group is close to sealing separate deals to add Lambie-Nairn and Tutssels to its growing portfolio of design consultancies. The pair currently make up The Brand Union.
As Design Week went to press, Brand Union managing director Claire Watson responded to the speculation: “There may be developments in two to three weeks.” She refuses to confirm or deny whether discussions have taken place about a possible takeover. WPP spokesman Sam Sampson adds: “I don’t want to talk about a silly design industry rumour.”
Stock Exchange regulations prevent WPP from revealing details of any deal before a statement is issued on the Regulatory News Service and shareholders have been informed.
Branding group Tutssels and screen graphics consultancy Lambie-Nairn were born out of Tutssel St John Lambie-Nairn, founded in January 1993.
The two joined forces in July 1997, forming The Brand Union, and ranked 14th in DW’s 1999 Top 100, with design fee-income of £6.15m, on a turnover of £10.95m and a total of 67 staff.
If WPP’s mooted plans are finalised, the two groups look likely to be split. Reports indicate Tutssels will be merged with WPP’s branding specialist Coley Porter Bell, while Lambie-Nairn would operate independently under the WPP Group umbrella. However, a CPB spokeswoman claims that she knows nothing of any deal.
WPP’s design groups are Enterprise IG, Addison, BDG McColl, Oakley Young, BPRI, Scott Stern, Coley Porter Bell and Prism.