Rise in mergers offers identity opportunities

A boom in corporate identity is to gain momentum as mergers, acquisitions and alliances mushroom across Europe over the next 12 months, according to a new survey by Price Waterhouse.

Activity is likely to be most buoyant in the UK, with some 63 per cent of UK companies planning acquisitions. The survey of 500 top companies in Europe found that mergers are likely to be highest in Germany, where 37 per cent of companies are planning mergers or strategic alliances.

Change is being fuelled by increased competition and a drive to focus on core businesses, says John Harley, Price Waterhouse Corporate Finance’s head of mergers and acquisitions in Europe.

“For designers, that will undoubtedly produce opportunities, as newly forged entities need to establish credentials rapidly – either to leave behind past associations or to communicate new cultures… not just externally but also internally,” says Harley.

Sampson Tyrrell Enterprise is currently working with Unilever on the merger of Lever and industrial cleaning company Diversey. Charles Trevail, the consultancy’s deputy chief executive, says such activity has been building for the past two years.

“There’s been a phenomenal increase, especially in the telecommunications sector,” he says. “Just about every blue chip client on our books is either considering mergers and acquisitions, or alliances, in one or more parts of their businesses.”

Designers have yet to be appointed for work on the forthcoming merger of Shell and Exxon’s petroleum additives divisions. A Shell International spokesman says: “There probably will be a new logo for the joint venture. But it’s early days yet and we’ve only signed a letter of intent.” The new company is expected to launch in 1997.

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