A deal has finally been struck between Wickens Tutt Southgate and Rodney Fitch, ending months of speculation about the future of the London brand design group.
Retail specialist Rodney Fitch & Company has taken a majority stake in WTS and Rodney Fitch joins its board. Fitch’s own consultancy has 50 per cent backing from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, and Virgin therefore has an interest in WTS through that arrangement.
However, all parties say that the new deal does not mean WTS will automatically win Virgin work or that it cannot take on projects for Virgin’s rivals.
Neither Fitch nor WTS founder Mark Wickens is prepared to reveal details of the deal, but both say they “share a vision about working for certain kinds of clients, a vision for the future”.
“It’s a new vision about new retailing, partly driven by the impact of technology and screen literacy and partly by retailers viewing themselves as a brand,” Fitch maintains.
Both businesses will remain “discreet” and are complementary, says Fitch, but where appropriate will “vigorously approach the options together”. The two groups are already involved in a joint pitch for work in the Far East, where Fitch has several clients.
Wickens says the deal will not affect WTS’s trawl for a managing director, which has continued since John Owrid left as deputy MD 18 months ago. He is also talking of recruiting new people.
Fitch too is looking to expand and says the deal will not affect the graphics content of his multidisciplinary consultancy.
See News Analysis, page 8.