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Canadian E-Marketer to Acquire U.K. Design Firm

[June 14] Canadian e-marketer Envoy Communications Group announced Wednesday that it intends to purchase the U.K-based digital imaging and design firm Gilchrist Brothers Ltd.

Envoy says it will integrate Gilchrist into The Watt Group, the branding and design firm it acquired from Cott Corporation in June last year. Gilchrist is expected to be the platform for The Watt Group's expansion into Europe.

Envoy expects to close the all-cash deal on June 30.

Geoff Genovese, Envoy's president and chief executive, explained his company's business plan as being about "the convergence of technology, branding and marketing."

"Through strong organic growth and strategic acquisitions, we will continue to export our integrated model to markets throughout the world. Our goal is to build the best of breed in each of these core disciplines within every country we operate."

Gilchrist brings a star-studded list of clients, including Wal-Mart's European subsidiary Asda, Marks and Spencer, Next, Mars and France's Otor. The U.K. firm was founded over a century ago and employs more than 100 designers and technicians at offices in the U.K. and France.

Envoy describes itself as a "new breed" company that builds brands both online and offline. Besides The Watt Group it owns other top advertising and design agencies such as Communique, Devlin Applied Design, FUSIONcreative and Hampel/Stefanides of New York.

Among Envoy's Internet-related clients are CDNOW, Juno Online Services, Sprint Canada, and Procurenet.com.