Saatchi & Saatchi subsidiary Sectorlight Marketing & Design and 15-strong independent Sutton Young Design are merging to form a new consultancy, Sectorlight Sutton Young, which begins trading on 1 January 2004.
For Sectorlight, the move involves a management buyout from the Publicis-owned ad agency after nearly 14 years, although the relationship will continue during the earn-out period. The new group will employ around 45 people and is due to complete a phased relocation to offices in London’s James Street in March.
Sutton Young founder Mike Sutton, who becomes joint managing and creative director with Sectorlight managing director Jerry Llewellyn, insists the merger is an equitable ’50/50 split’. Both groups have tended to specialise in print and communications design in the commercial property market and Sutton hopes the merger will ‘give us critical mass’.
‘Trying to recruit the right people in this sector is difficult,’ he says, adding that the merger will build capacity at a stroke.
According to Llewellyn, ‘there isn’t really a [consultancy] in the property sector of any size that offers a through-the-line service’. He thinks the merged group, which is expected to bring in joint billing of £7-8m a year, can fill that gap.
Sub-brands that Sectorlight operates, including digital team Reflector Interactive and interiors specialist Beam, will be retained.
A key client for the new consultancy will be Battersea Power Station, after Sectorlight recently won a literature-based brand positioning brief.