Summerfield Wilmot Keane & Partners, the advertising agency launched in 1996 by Malcolm Summerfield – former chief executive at McCann-Erickson – has been bought by below-the-line specialists Chemistry Communications Group. The deal is expected to be worth just over &£300,000.
Chemistry Communications Group chief executive Joe Garton says: “This gives us an above-the-line presence that we do not currently have.” He also confirms that more acquisitions are being considered, as is a listing on AIM (the Alternative Investment Market).
Summerfield Wilmot Keane & Partners will be renamed SWK after the takeover – although it is already widely known by this name. Last year, it had billings of &£3.24m (ACNielsen) and its client list includes ABTA, the Israeli Government’s Tourist Office, Cathay Pacific, Corus, the Ordnance Survey, and SeaFrance. Summerfield will remain as chairman of SWK, but it will become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chemistry Communications Group.
Chemistry Communications, which was formed by the merger of direct marketing agency Manifesto and interactive agency TPDi two years ago, is listed on OFEX ( a listing for companies not quoted on the stock exchange) . Last month, the agency recruited WPP Group’s former executive director Mark Scott who was responsible for the group’s European acquisitions and for identifying growth opportunities.
SWK has had a troubled history since its launch. After a proposed merger with Osprey Group fell through in 1998, co-founder Paul Wilmot, former creative director of Euro RSCG, quit the agency.
SWK was then acquired by 10 Group, but it bought itself out in 1999, after less than a year. Plans to buy Leeds-based agency CWG for about &£560,000 over five years were abandoned, with CWG going into liquidation three months ago.