US group buys Fourth Room

Thinktank The Fourth Room has been acquired by e-business group US Interactive for an undisclosed sum, in a deal finalised on Tuesday.

All Fourth Room founders, along with product design group Ideo, which owned a 25 per cent stake, have sold their holdings to US Interactive. All three remaining founding partners – Piers Schmidt, Michael Wolff and Wendy Gordon – and the rest of The Fourth Room’s 25 staff will be retained.

The London group will become a fully integrated business unit of US Interactive, reporting to its senior vice-president for Europe, Ben Green. It will retain its name.

“This deal enables us to build our UK business on the back of an established name, while strengthening our offering to current global clients,” says the US president and chief executive officer, Stephen Zarrilli.

“While the Internet is restructuring the way business is done, there’s been little emphasis on restructuring the way businesses think. And that lack of imagination is damaging,” says Fourth Room chief executive Piers Schmidt. “It’s exhilarating, a new lease,” says Michael Wolff, Fourth Room head of imagination.

The merged companies plan to offer services ranging from business and brand development to technical implementation of e-business solutions.

US Interactive employs more than 750 people worldwide, in 15 locations.

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