WMH plans to diversify under Loewy ownership

Williams Murray Hamm has outlined its ambitions to enter new design disciplines, following its acquisition by Loewy Group last Friday, revealed on www.designweek.co.uk.

Loewy acquired WMH in a three-year, earn-out deal worth £7m, effectively ending the consultancy’s ten-year tenure as a leading independent group with a strong creative reputation. Rumours that the group was to be sold were first reported in September, though they were initially rebuffed (DW 15 September). Richard Murray, one of the three founding partners at WMH, explains that being part of a network will allow the studio to develop its work in alternative design-related fields, such as new media, film, merchandising, retail and branded environments. He envisages working with other consultancies in Loewy’s network to deliver this diverse range of projects.

‘Our business has naturally evolved and will continue to grow organically. We don’t necessarily have an expertise in certain areas, but we will use the help and support of the network to embark on new projects,’ adds Murray.

WMH will continue to trade as Williams Murray Hamm and the 20-strong team will remain at its Clerkenwell studio under the terms of the deal.

The acquisition forms a key step in Loewy’s £15m expansion plan to establish a £100m integrated network. Last month, it acquired branding and communications consultancy Bite for £2m and the marketing services group recently also bought public relations agency Ranier PR (DW 2 November). To help implement this ambitious growth strategy, Loewy is in the process of restructuring its management team, says Chief Executive Charlie Hoult.

Mark Adams, founder of management consultancy Pembridge, has been appointed as the new Loewy chairman, replacing outgoing Luke Johnson, who has signed up for another three-year term as Channel 4 chairman. Iain Johnston has also been appointed as a new non-executive director and Ed Hardy has been promoted to group managing director in a newly created role.

WMH was founded by Richard Murray, Garrick Hamm and Richard Williams. It succeeded Williams Murray Banks.

Controversial Creatives

2001 – Williams Murray Hamm designs ‘Big Food’ packs for Hovis, part of the Bread Bakeries division

2003 – WMH resigns the account due to reported differences on how best to take the brand forward

2004 – WMH’s high profile, radical redesign for McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes is axed after just six months

2006 – WMH is acquired by Loewy Group for £7m

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