Williams Lea Tag expands capabilities with CGI buy

Rhys Handley
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Williams Lea Tag (WLT) has acquired computer-generated imagery specialist Taylor James in a move to become one of the world’s leading omni-channel marketing partners to global brands.

Confirmed today (5 September), the deal is the culmination of a negotiation that began at the start of the year.

All 100 members of staff across Taylor James’ New York headquarters, as well as its London and Los Angeles bases, will transfer in the deal, and Taylor James founder Glen Taylor will continue to head up the company as part of the WLT senior management team.

For WLT, it represents the first significant external investment of the year and part of a programme to enhance the business that will likely cost around €100m (£90m).

WLT chief executive David Kassler said: “This is the first deal of the year we can make public now that we have dotted the Is and crossed the Ts. We wanted to spend time learning about Taylor James’ clients and find our way to a similar view on where the world is going.

“It is part of a goal to build an omni-channel business, in which the hyper-real CGI assets Taylor James can create may be used across all forms of communication – whether that be print, digital, moving image or broadcast.

“Glen is very much a key part of this acquisition. His is a founder-led business, so we have worked hard to assure him that WLT is the right home for a company he has spent so many years building from scratch. We are very excited to welcome his talented team to the family.”

Taylor James was founded as a digital production house centred around the dual technologies of high-end CGI and VFX in London, 1999. Through agency customers, it works with clients including American Express, Ford and Jack Daniels.

Taylor James will look to offer its services to WLT's existing clients and take advantage of its global reach.

Describing the new acquisition's capabilities, Kassler said: “Imagine you are making an advert for a car brand and you would traditionally close a whole street and take a full camera crew to the location for expensive filming. Taylor James can create a photo-real asset of that car and drop it into any environment across any channel.

“This will save clients time and money and grant them greater flexibility in their campaigns – Taylor James are experts in this work across a number of sectors.”

Looking forward, Kassler – who was appointed in December – said he expected to announce “two or three” more acquisitions at WLT before the end of the year, largely focusing on the digital sector – including social media communications and content creation. WLT currently turns over €1.1bn (£985m) with production facilities in 40 countries and 10,000 employees worldwide.

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