Imagination Group is stepping up its investment in the Asia-Pacific market with the acquisition of Sydney graphics and branding consultancy Brand by Voice.
The design group will be renamed Imagination (Australia) and its founder Adrienne Bateup-Carlson (pictured) becomes strategy director, while Brand by Voice managing director Steve Lennon stays on as managing director of the new-look consultancy.
It is the second time that Imagination has used acquisition to fuel its overseas expansion. In August 2004, the group gained a foothold in Hong Kong with the acquisition of the live events group Event 360, which now employs almost 40 staff.
‘We have been expanding geographically for the past four years. Traditionally, our growth has been organic – by moving people overseas – but for Asia we wanted to reach critical mass a bit quicker,’ explains Simon Bruxner-Randall, Imagination Group director and chief executive for Asia Pacific.
Further purchases are not likely in the short term, he adds. However, Bruxner-Randall notes that, at some point in the future, India is likely to become a potential target, as and when Imagination’s expansion in the region continues.
‘I don’t think we would be likely to take any more major steps in terms of global expansion at the moment. We want to make sure we have all our existing offices running smoothly first,’ he says.
Together with its modest Tokyo office, for which Imagination took the organic growth route, the new Sydney base gives the group a three-pronged front in the fast-growing Asia Pacific territory.
The acquisition brings Imagination’s global head count to 450. It has offices in London, Cologne, Stockholm, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Sydney, California, Michigan, New York City and Toronto.