Coleman Group ends European acquisitions

BRANDING conglomerate The Coleman Group has completed its European network by taking a majority stake in Dutch packaging and corporate design group Millford-Van den Berg. The group is now setting its sights on Australasia.

The New York-based Coleman Group has acquired a 71 per cent shareholding in the 15-year-old, 41-strong Dutch consultancy for an undisclosed sum. Its two arms will be renamed Coleman Millford Packaging Design and Coleman Millford Corporate Design, based in Waasanar and The Hague respectively.

According to Coleman Group managing director Stephen Merry, the Millford-Van den Berg deal is “the last building block” in the group’s European expansion strategy. It follows the acquisition last December of Paris consultancy Menu & Associates. A push to acquire design groups in the Far East and Australia will happen later this year, he says.

Merry describes Millford-Van den Berg as “one of the pre-eminent European design companies”. Its client list complements that of existing Coleman Group interests, while its focus on both packaging and corporate design is a strength, he adds.

Former Millford-Van den Berg marketing director Jan Oldenburger, who hotly denied reports last year that talks with The Coleman Group were underway, becomes president of the Dutch consultancy. He says of the new arrangement: “Design agencies in Benelux countries are getting more international and we have to professionalise the way we organise design.” The Coleman Group can bring “systems and organisation” to Millford-Van den Berg, says Oldenburg.

The Coleman Group is part of US marketing services giant Interpublic Group, which owns Diefenbach Elkins and Diefenbach Elkins Davies Baron. Its European interests include London branding and structural packaging specialist Coleman Planet & Partners and Swiss packaging and identity group Coleman Schmidlin & Partner.

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