GROWING market research agency Explain has snapped up rival Wood Holmes and it is ambitious for further expansion in the New Year.
Both business are based in Newcastle and Wood Holmes will become part of the Explain brand.
Explain CEO David Shiel said: “We were particularly interested in capitalising on the research side of Wood Holmes and the market knowledge they have built.
“Wood Holmes is an excellent fit for Explain because the companies are very strong in different sectors and the crossover with clients is so small.
“There was a lot of synergy between the two organisations. They had a fairly different list of clients. Historically, they have been quite strong in the public sector and consultancy work.
“They were quite reliant on the public sector, and that work has just about dried up. That made life tough for them. We’ve been lucky in that we’ve been the opposite with big private sector clients.”
As part of the deal, a number staff have transferred to Explain and its central Newcastle offices. Tamsin Greulich, Wood Holmes managing director, said: “We are delighted to be able to bring together these ambitious and talented agencies.
“Wood Holmes has a global reputation for excellence in pioneering innovative new techniques with ethical foundations. The acquisition by Explain can only bring positive change, and I have no doubt that our existing clients will be impressed by what we are able to offer with Explain.”
Wood Holmes has worked with clients including the Coastal Communities Alliance and Gateshead Housing Company. Shiel said the acquisition was “just too good to turn down”.
He added: “There may be more acquisitions in the New Year, further south. We are negotiating at the moment with a London company, we are one of a number looking at it. Potentially we could have a Southern office. We have a war chest after two or three record years. We have made some investments, the big one was our new call centre earlier this year just beside our head office.
“We are making a huge investment in January in revitalising our brand and identity. The market is unbelievably tough and every big tender we go for, there will be very many others going for it too.”
He said turnover is heading for the £1m mark, which the company missed last year.
“We’ll achieve that because of this merger and with the type of clients we are handling, the market is very, very buoyant,” said Shiel.
“Yorkshire Building Society is increasing its contract and we have been approached by Nottingham Building Society.”
Ward Hadaway advised Explain and Wood Holmes was advised by Swinburne Maddison on the deal.