Olympic mascot designer Iris sells stake to South Korea’s Cheil

Iris, the consultancy that created the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic mascots, has sold a “significant” stake to South Korean marketing network Cheil Worldwide.

London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic mascots Wenlock and Mandeville, created by Iris
London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic mascots Wenlock and Mandeville, created by Iris

Cheil says the deal gives it the option to buy Iris in its entirety over the next five years.

Both Cheil and Iris say the deal will see them remain as separate entities, “sharing an ambition to create a new-age alternative to the traditional holding model”.

As part of the agreement, US publisher Meredith is selling its stake in Iris.

Iris was set up in 1999 and has offices around the world. As well as creating the Olympic and Paralympic mascots Wenlock and Mandeville, it has also worked on projects such as launch campaigns for Mini and Philips hue lighting.

Ian Millner, joint chief executive at iris, says: “This partnership won’t change who we are or what we do as a creative innovation network – but will extend our global reach and capabilities, and enable our clients and people to benefit from the huge opportunity presented by a true ‘East Meets West’ and ‘West Meets East’ network.”

The Iris deal follows other investments by Asian networks in design and marketing, including Chinese network BlueFocus’s acquisition of Fuseproject in July.

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