Manchester consultancy joins London group following takeover deal

The Brand Vista team

Manchester brand strategy and experience consultancy, Brand Vista, has been acquired, for an undisclosed sum.

London-based strategic communications group Definition swooped for the business, along with London-based Schwa, in a deal which marks its fifth acquisition in 18 months.

It will boost its revenue to £10m and add a Manchester operation to its existing bases in Leeds and London.

Brand Vista – rated by the Financial Times as one of the UK’s leading management consultancies in 2022 – was founded in 2000 and specialises in brand strategy and the alignment of customer and colleague experiences.

The company’s portfolio of clients in the international leisure and hospitality, retail, built environment, charity and B2B sectors includes David Lloyd, Merlin Entertainments Group, Greene King, Places for People, Iceland, Fiat Agricultural and Yorkshire Cancer Trust.

Definition’s enlarged team now stands at 90 staff.

Andrew Stothert, CEO of Brand Vista, and Neil Taylor, co-founder of Schwa, will join the Definition Group board as executive directors. Jim Horsley, Schwa co-founder, will join as a non-executive director.

Nigel Howes, chairman of Definition Group, said: “These two acquisitions represent a significant step change in our ambitious growth strategy, broadening our sector expertise, expanding our geographic spread and enhancing our service offering.

“With this enlarged capability, we can now offer clients a broader range of services, delivered by award winning experts, using a truly integrated approach.”

Andrew Stothert said: “Apart from the similarity of our ambition, culture and values, Brand Vista and Definition have a shared view of the importance, for brands, of consistent communication and experience, both internally and externally. We are excited by the potential that lies ahead.”

Funding for the acquisitions, as part of its ongoing support for Definition Group’s growth strategy, was provided by ThinCats (Ben Kimball) with due diligence conducted by Nick Johnson and Andrew Cameron at Ryecroft Glenton.

Corporate finance and debt advisory services were provided to Definition by Andy Miller at Sentio Partners. Corporate finance services were provided to Schwa by Michael Glynn of St James Consulting. Legal advice on the transaction was provided to Definition by Dahren Naidoo at Freeths, to Brand Vista by Jonathan Aldersley at Butcher & Barlow, to Schwa by Tessa Laws and Phil Pugh at Acuity Law and to ThinCats by Andrew Curtis at Clarion.