Creative agency acquired in multi-million-pound deal

A North West business that provides commercial photography for the homeware, food and fashion industries has snapped up a Stoke-based creative agency in a multi-million pound deal.

Blink-Photo, based in Chorley and operating under parent company Blink Group, has acquired CIC Creative (CIC) for a seven-figure sum.

Prior to the acquisition Blink Group employed 50 staff members across Blink-Photo and sister company Blink MCR with a combined turnover of over £4m.

The purchase of CIC Creative will see 36 employees and a turnover of £2.2 m join the Blink Group. The team at CIC, led by managing director, Nicola Tayler, will stay in their current roles and will continue to operate as normal across its offices in Stoke and China.

CIC operates as a full service creative agency, providing CGI, branding, video production, product design and digital services to clients Victoria Plum, RKW, Morphy Richards, Wrights Food Group, Port Vale Football Club and MoBike.

Blink-Photo Limited was formed in 2006 and as one of the country’s largest commercial photography studios it specialises in room set, location, food and model photography. Clients include N Brown Group, Sainsburys, House of Fraser and Booths.

Steven Livesey, director at Blink Group, said: “We’ve been looking to diversify our services for a couple of years now so when CIC became available we jumped at the chance. It’s a company that we have been aware of for a while and it’s always produced incredible work.

“We’re getting an exceptional ready-made team with a ready-made customer base from CIC. The specialisms of the two-company’s complement each other well. This is an opportunity for us to grow our team of experts and establish ourselves in the market as a full-service offering.

“The acquisition also means that we’re branching out internationally, which is very exciting for us and most importantly our clients. The studio in China will allow clients to become more efficient by producing photography and CGI at source, designing marketing collateral and selling items before they have arrived in the UK.”

Jon Hills, commercial director at CIC, added: “Becoming part of Blink Group strengthens CIC in terms of our skills and facilities, it also offers a huge boost to our clients and what we can offer them. It’s a pleasure to be working alongside Steven and Emma and we are looking forward to the future.”

The corporate finance team at MHA Moore and Smalley advised Blink-Photo on the deal. Funding was provided by Allied Irish Bank (GB) led by relationship manager Danny Pennington.

The deal team at MHA Moore and Smalley was led by corporate finance senior manager Paul Bennett.

David Filmer of North West law firm Harrison Drury provided legal advice to Blink Group.

Alex Chapman, Guy Pattison and Anton Stirrett of Bermans Solicitors acted on behalf of Allied Irish Bank (GB).

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