PSD Associates bought by US marketing group

PSD Associates, the UK’s ninth-ranked independent design consultancy, has been acquired by international marketing services network Cordiant Communications Group.

The UK group is parent to advertising group Bates, integrated marketing agency 141 Worldwide, Zenith Media, and Scholz and Friends, which claims to be the largest German-based global advertising network. Under the terms of the deal, worth up to £35m, the 64-strong PSD will keep its own name.

According to PSD principal Paul Stead, the company will become the hub of a new global design network backed by CCG. PSD already turns over 65 per cent of its revenue from international projects, although it has no offices outside the UK.

Its new design network is likely to incorporate CCG’s existing design consultancies in Denmark, Norway, South Africa, Australia, Hong Kong and Brazil, plus new offices.

“The key thing about this deal is that nobody else could have offered us a better opportunity with this level of independence. We are looking to put a global design brand together as clients are demanding global delivery and global consistency [of design].

“I will still be running the group – theirs is a hands-off approach. The thinking is why change a formula that is working,” he says.

Stead reveals that over the next couple of years PSD intends to increase the number of staff at its Richmond base by some 50 people. His own future involvement in the larger CCG management framework is not yet clear.

The multidisciplinary design consultancy joins a growing list of design groups owned by marketing services networks such as the WPP Group, Omnicom and Havas. PSD reported a 76 per cent increase in growth over the last financial year (DW Top 100, 31 March).

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