City Images takes on It Has To Be Brilliant

By Rhys Handley, Tuesday 25 June 2019

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City Images has acquired fellow London printer It Has To Be Brilliant (IHTBB) as it looks to drive growth through the synergies created by the merger.

simon-tabelin

Tabelin: this enables each of us to provide strengths for the other

With the deal having completed on 6 June, the two businesses have already reshuffled some staff and services across their four collective premises as the the finer details of the merger are rolled out.

All members of the two businesses design teams have been moved to IHTBB’s site in West Hampstead to create a single design hub, while the bulk of print production will be carried out at City’s plant in Camden, which runs a variety of large- and small-format kit.

City runs a further print shop in Mayfair, while most of IHTBB’s production was carried out at its second site in Watford.

The deal brings together nine members of staff from IHTBB and 26 from City. For the foreseeable future, respective City Images and IHTBB managing directors Grant Wickham and Simon Tabelin will serve as joint managing directors of the combined business, which will continue to operate under two brands for now.

“Our plan was to make a larger organisation that can be more profitable with more people, more equipment and the facilities to do more work,” said Tabelin.

“Looking at how we are different, City is largely a print production company with some design services and IHTBB is the other way around, so this enables each of us to provide strengths for the other.

“Our merger has reduced times in terms of turnaround, print and delivery to a matter of hours due to having a much larger production capacity overall.

“We have worked together for a long time and even bought similar equipment previously in order to overflow our jobs. This deal has been talked about for years and the next step is to bring everything under one roof and improve efficiency.”

The complete entity represents £5m in turnover, with the lion’s share attributed to City Images.

Wickham and Tabelin said that a collective brand for the new company would likely be a new identity incorporating both original companies. The long-term plan for the company is to relocate to a single London site.

Both companies have a history serving the fashion and retail markets, as well as blue chip companies and banking clients, on a variety of typically high-end print applications across the UK and Europe.

The merger marks the second London-based print M&A of the month, with Bermondsey firm Jigsaw Colour acquired by neighbour Push Print last week.

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