Interbrand still looking to France

The Interbrand Group is still looking to buy a design group in France following its merger deal with London consultancy Newell and Sorrell. But the nature of a French acquisition might change, says Interbrand Group deputy chairman Tom Blackett.

“It’s no secret that we are looking in France,” says Blackett. But he doesn’t rule out the possibility of any new addition to the group coming under the Interbrand Newell and Sorrell name after its formation next January.

N&S already has an office in Amsterdam, giving Interbrand a foothold there, as well as “strategic alliances” in the UK, the US, India and the Far East. In Europe Interbrand also owns Zintzmeyer & Lux, with offices in Zurich and Bonn, and new-product development group Redwood Associates.

Under the latest deal, N&S will merge with Interbrand UK to form a 190-strong consultancy with strengths in branding and naming. Interbrand’s US parent Omnicom has acquired all N&S shares.

For the time being, the status quo will prevail in both consultancies, with N&S co-chairs John Sorrell and Frances Newell becoming chairman and artistic director respectively of the merged group. The consultancies plan to work increasingly together over the next few months.

Says Sorrell: “We will develop how we work as we move forward. One thrill is not quite knowing what we’re doing.”

The combined group, with a turnover of some 17m and about 190 staff, will move to N&S’s north London offices in spring, after they have been restructured by architect Fletcher Priest.

See News Analysis, page 8.

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