Corporate changes put identity high in the 90s

Corporate identity design is enjoying its highest levels of activity since the peak of the late 1980s, according to the latest annual surveys of corporate name changes by New York consultancies Anspach Grossman Enterprise and Interbrand Schechter.

In AGE’s survey, the number of corporate name changes rocketed by 27 per cent in 1996 compared to the previous year. The sharp increase follows a 4 per cent rise recorded in 1994/5.

The total number of corporate name changes, drawn from the US stock exchanges, reached 1471 in 1996, the highest level since 1989 and the second highest in the 27 years the survey has been conducted by the WPP-owned identity consultancy.

Mergers and acquisitions account for 709, or 48 per cent, of the 1996 total, with 525 arising as a result of companies adopting new names to convey changes in their operations. The financial services and communications sectors were particularly volatile.

Anspach Grossman Enterprise managing director Ron Cappello says: “The figures represent a continuing trend of high activity both in Europe and the US. Companies which are focusing and consolidating are the driving force.”

The high levels of changes are keeping US identity consultancies busy, adds Cappello: “We have had a very positive year, as the entire industry of identity consulting has. This reflects what is happening elsewhere in the world.”

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