Futurebrand agrees Icon deal

FutureBrand Worldwide has agreed in principle to acquire Icon Brandlab in a deal with the digital branding group’s parent, Icon Medialab.

It will be one of the global network’s last acquisitions, according to FutureBrand Worldwide chairman and chief executive John Elkins.

Once it has completed acquisitions in Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong and Tokyo later this year, and added Brazil to the network, Elkins expects to expand through organic growth, he explains.

The move follows news that Icon Brandlab London head of brand and marketing Tim Fendley and Icon Medialab London managing director Robin Richmond have resigned. Fendley set up the group, then called MetaDesign London, with Richmond and sold it to Icon Medialab a year ago.

Fendley says his and Richmond’s decision to leave was not connected to the FutureBrand deal, which was struck after they had resigned.

“Icon has gone through massive changes and we didn’t feel part of the future,” he says. He and Richmond “have got ideas, but no plans”, but he says they could set up together again. They remain in touch with MetaDesign founder Erik Spiekermann.

According to FutureBrand UK and Europe chief executive Charles Trevail, Icon Medialab wants to refocus on technology.

Icon Brandlab’s 34-strong London team will work under acting managing director David Melton for the time being, says Trevail. The team will move with FutureBrand’s other London interests to new premises on the South Bank in December.

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