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This week Landor’s owner Young & Rubicam – itself part of WPP Group – bought The Partners. Which consultancies do you think are ripe for future takeovers, and which groups would make their ideal parents?

This week Landor’s owner Young & Rubicam – itself part of WPP Group – bought The Partners. Which consultancies do you think are ripe for future takeovers, and which groups would make their ideal parents?

‘Since I act for many of these “active” companies, I can’t really mention their names. When successful companies come together, it is not by accident. The Partner’s selection of Young & Rubicam as its long-term partner will mark the end of an intensive three- or four-year period during which the business was overhauled to prepare it for what lay ahead. Next will have come a research phase when the ideal partner criteria are agreed upon and then a search process, where partners are identified.’

IAN COCHRANE, CHAIRMAN, TICEGROUP

‘All of the large acquisitive groups now have a significant design presence. Consultancies that are attractive to purchasers will be one of three types. First, those that have achieved fame for quality and depth of their creative work, such as Lippa Pearce. Second, those that have niche skills, such as SAS, and, third, the biggest area, those that can develop quality digital design skills. Of course, some of the best, such as Pentagram or Turner Duckworth, won’t sell, even as an exit route for the owners.’

SIMON RHIND-TUTT, MANAGING DIRECTOR, THE TUTT CONSULTANCY

‘You either go for reputation or size. Big design groups will probably start buying product groups such as Priestman Goode. Wolff Olins is probably still thinking about it. In retail there is a lot of potential – Redjacket, Din Associates, 20/20, Design House, for example. There’s Design Bridge and Elmwood in branding and watch Rodney Fitch & Co and The Identica Partnership. Print is the least interesting to potential buyers and in digital media everyone wants to buy a consultancy, but no one wants to sell. The problem now is finding a good consultancy that is looking for a company that is willing to buy it. Active buyers may include True North, ad agencies Bates and Grey and Cordiant.’

RICHARD WATSON, PARTNER, GDR

‘With so many graphics groups past their sell- by date, if I were Sir Martin Sorrell, I would be looking for the next generation. While Deepend has clearly earned its stripes as a digital pioneer, it would benefit from the depth of brand knowledge that exists elsewhere in the WPP Group.’

GARRICK HAMM, CREATIVE DIRECTOR, WILLIAMS MURRAY HAMM

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