Barclays poised to acquire Goldfish

Barclays has agreed to buy credit card brand Goldfish for 35m. Goldfish, along with parent company Discover’s other UK brands, will be integrated into Barclays’ credit card arm Barclaycard.

Barclays has agreed to buy credit card brand Goldfish for £35m. Goldfish, along with parent company Discover’s other UK brands, will be integrated into Barclays’ credit card arm Barclaycard.

The deal comes just weeks after the beleaguered Goldfish relaunched with an outdoor and below-the-line campaign from Grey. It marks a third change in ownership in less than two years.

The Goldfish brand was launched in 1996 by Centrica, then acquired by British Gas and Lloyds TSB in a joint venture, but Lloyds bought the utility company out in 2003. It was relaunched in 2002 with a major advertising campaign, but has received little investment since.

Morgan Stanley Consumer Banking UK bought the brand in 2006, intending to revitalise it. It immediately appointed Grey London to handle a £50m through-the-line relaunch (MW February 23, 2006).

However, relaunch plans were put on hold after the US bank announced it was to spin off its credit card business into Discover Financial Services – separate to the corporate bank. Marketing director Patrick Muir left the business after the divestment and was replaced by former Lloyds marketer Martin White (MW September 7, 2007).

Discover has 1.7 million credit card accounts including under the Morgan Stanley brand. It is unclear how marketing staff and agency arrangements will be affected by the acquisition, which is expected to complete during the first half of 2008 pending regulatory clearance.

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