The deal will be of significant value to Seymourpowell, a team which includes founders Dick Seymour and Richard Powell, design directors Nick Talbot, David Fisher and Adrian Caroen, as well as financial director Russell Lloyd, who masterminded the merger on behalf of Seymourpowell. The deal is also a significant boost to Loewy’s ambitions, with Seymourpowell joining Williams Murray Hamm, The Team, Epoch Design, Bite and Wilson Harvey – all leading design players, who have pioneered design’s lead creative agency role for clients.
The deal provides a wealth of synergies between the two companies and renews Loewy’s connection with its founder Raymond Loewy, ‘the man who shaped America’ and one of the founding fathers of industrial design, with his iconic streamlined product designs of the 50s.
Seymourpowell is the company behind break-through design concepts such as the cordless kettle, the world’s first truly pocketable mobile phone, Aqualisa’s digital showers and ENV, the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell motorcycle. Seymourpowell works at the cutting edge of industrial design and consumer product strategy and development across a huge range of sectors including consumer products, transport and FMCG, covering everything from bras to cars and trains to planes for clients including Tefal, Unilever, Pepsi, Bell and Honda.
Richard Seymour and Dick Powell are industry luminaries and leading speakers on design, as well as holding significant positions outside of the company: Richard Seymour is the Consultant Global Creative Director of Design for Unilever’s Dove brand and Dick Powell is on the global design advisory board of Samsung.
The studio specialises in the future of design and its 10-person research and strategy unit ‘Seymourpowellforesight’ (SPF) uses insight and innovation to develop product strategies for consumer companies, ‘by helping them see the future first and act decisively by fusing marketing and design thinking from the outset’.
Charlie Hoult, Loewy CEO, says: “Seymourpowell has a legendary reputation, built over the last 25 years, as leading-edge designers and product innovators. They continue to break barriers by delivering goods that improve life. Their award-winning ideas, forward thinking, huge design knowledge, uniquely creative approach and expertise in the FMCG sector made them a must-have for Loewy. We consider this acquisition a feather in our cap and one that brings further momentum to our strategy to create a challenger agency offering clients evolutionary solutions all the way along the creative process, and from the inside out.
“The deal marks a momentous milestone in the Loewy master plan, allowing us to join the dotted lines for our clients in terms of the creation of better products and how these can be communicated to target audiences. The synergies between the Loewy family companies are emerging all the time as we respond to the specific needs of clients. We are building an agency of integrity and scale, made up of companies that are leaders in their field, such as branding specialists The Team and design supremos WMH. Now we can extend that expertise into product design with Seymourpowell. We are delighted to welcome them into the fold.”
Richard Seymour comments: “It’s very rare that opportunities like this come along; to help forge a new and potent creative force with real brilliance, energy and insight as its propulsive core. Raymond Loewy virtually invented product design as we know it, from a mixture of engineering, ‘commercial art’ and a dash of poetry. Now the Group has the opportunity, and the potential, to set the agenda all over again…”
Dick Powell comments: “This feels like the completion of a circle – as a schoolboy, it was Raymond Loewy’s work that first enthused me about Industrial Design! We had been striving for some time to secure the long-term future of the business, so moving forward with Loewy gives us a solid foundation for future growth. I don’t think Seymourpowell has ever stood still; we have constantly evolved what we do and how we do it – and that’s not going to change . . . it’s just that now, as part of Loewy, we’ll be doing it together.”
The company, which has 65 employees, will retain its name and continue to work from its Fulham base.
Loewy has spent the last three years creating a powerful branding, design and communications family of complementary marketing specialists with strengths across the food, FMCG, retail, technology, corporate and public sectors, brought together under a masterbrand with an iconic, global, brand-building heritage.
The Seymourpowell deal is the final acquisition funded from Loewy’s recent £12m private equity investment and takes Loewy’s total headcount to 350 and turnover to £47 million with pro-forma profits of £7.5m per annum.
For more information contact Charlie Hoult on +44 (0)20 7798 2000 or got to www.loewygroup.com