The Value Engineers (TVE), the strategic brand development consultancy that numbers BSkyB, Diageo, Nintendo and Unilever among its clients, has been sold to acquisitive marketing services group Cello for up to &£7.15m.
According to TVE chairman Paul Walton, the consultancy will be integrated into Cello’s brand development division alongside Leith, but will continue to be run as a separate business to the advertising agency.
Cello, which last year bought Leith Advertising, Target Direct and a number of other marketing services agencies, is paying an initial consideration of &£4.48m, made up of &£2.24m in cash plus loan notes and shares. It will pay up to &£2.67m more, depending on TVE’s performance over the next three years. Last year, TVE made &£640,000 in pre-tax profit on turnover of &£3.7m.
TVE was formed in 1986 by Walton and development director Graham Harding, and its projects have included the rebranding of Jif as Cif, plus innovation and new product development work on the Ginsters and Schloer brands.
Walton says that TVE has had a number of takeover approaches over the past two years, but decided to go with Cello because “it’s a challenger brand – we felt much more in tune with what they were about”. Walton and TVE managing director Owen Williams will sit on Cello’s brand development board.
Cello floated on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) on November 9 last year, with a flotation value of &£26.2 million. It is understood that the group has identified strategic brand consultancy as a growth area, and has plans for further acquisitions.