London design group Nucleus, which shifted its emphasis from packaging design to e-commerce last year, has been acquired by Scandinavian e-consultancy Adera in an £8m deal, with an additional £2m earn-out figure if the group achieves its forecasted performance for 2000. The combined groups now plan a concerted assault on the e-consulting market across Europe.
The deal is a measure of how acquisitive the design industry is at present: each party had been in serious discussions with ten interested companies before deciding on a suitable partner. According to figures submitted for Design Week’s Top 100 Survey, Nucleus’ turnover last year was £2.6m.
Adera chief executive officer JÃ¶rgen Ericsson and Nucleus founder, and now Adera UK managing director, Peter Matthews predict an increasing level of consolidation within the industry.
Nucleus will keep its name but will be examining its own branding over the long term, says Matthews. He adds that the motive for the deal is growth, saying, “We wish to grow quickly in the UK and Europe. This [merger] is quicker than organic growth.”
The UK consultancy had been planning a flotation of its own, but realised joining an established group carried less risk. “Over the past 12 months we have been approached by so many people it made sense to rethink,” says Matthews. Currently 50 strong, the consultancy will now have access to more than 600 staff employed by Adera.
“We have been looking at the UK… It’s one of the most important e-markets,” says Ericsson. He says the groups have complementary skills, and will be increasing their concentration in sectors such as broadband Web design.