Loewy has this week acquired retail packaging and brand specialist Epoch Design, in a deal that could net the consultancy’s four directors up to £10m.
The deal comes as the acquisitive marketing group’s chief executive Charlie Hoult says he is looking at further ‘large mergers in the future, and bigger businesses’. It also follows hot on the heels of Loewy’s purchase in March of The Team, and its acquisition of Williams Murray Hamm in December last year.
Under the terms of the deal, brokered by Strategy and Investment Partners, Loewy is to absorb a 100 per cent stake in the consultancy. The deal sees 60 per cent of the group acquired in cash and 40 per cent in shares. If Epoch hits its targets, its directors could earn as much as £10m between them over their three-year earn-out period.
Bristol-based Epoch will retain its name, while the consultancy’s shares become Loewy’s.
‘Epoch is a hidden gem,’ says Hoult. ‘The interest is because it is very complementary to what we have already got and builds our packaging capabilities and food and fmcg [portfolio]. We see an opportunity to create a family of consultancies that work very closely together, that are driving to collaborate and be complementary.
‘We are very interested in several disciplines for the future. As we are developing, we are looking at large mergers. We are looking at bigger businesses that must have complementary skills,’ Hoult adds.
Loewy recently secured £12m of investment from private equity house Veronis Suhler Stevenson, which is funding the current round of acquisitions. The Epoch deal is the first, with further announcements in the pipeline.
The four directors of Epoch are managing director Anthony Lucas, operations director Mark Wildgoose, business development director Graham Peace and creative director David Forman.
‘Epoch was at a point where it needed an extra injection of energy,’ says Lucas. ‘We didn’t want the business to plateau and just continue. A business adviser introduced us to Loewy, which is very much design-focused. We have been approached in the past by big print companies, but I felt I could tell our staff proudly that we were part of Loewy.’
A ‘HIDDEN GEM’
• Retail packaging and brand specialist Epoch Design was founded in 1993 by Anthony Lucas, Graham Peace and Mark Wildgoose. They were joined in 2000 by David Forman
• Clients include Coca-Cola Great Britain, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Unilever Group, Diageo, Oral-B, healthcare corporation AkzoNobel, Nokia, Ferrero Rocher and Kickers
• Epoch Design will keep its name, and continue to be based in Bristol for the foreseeable future. It has 38 staff