Equator gets stake in 999 Design

Equator has acquired a controlling interest in one of the UK’s most established brand agencies, 999 Design Group.

Equator has acquired a controlling interest in one of the UK’s most established brand agencies, 999 Design Group.

The acquisition brings together two of the most respected marketing businesses in the UK and further cements Equator’s position as one of the UK’s leading independent agencies.

Managing director John McLeish said the acquisition of the Glasgow and London agency was part of a major growth strategy by Equator which is already on track to increase revenues to more than £15m in the current financial year.

He added: “This is an exciting milestone in the evolution of the Equator Group. 999 Design is a well-respected and long standing agency with tremendous brand experience, working with internationally renowned brands including The Financial Times, Highland Spring, BBC and Victoria Beckham. Previously 999 Design worked extensively on major brand projects for BT, Reebok and Orange.

“The team’s design and creative expertise will further strengthen our own integrated approach to working with national and international brands and we are hugely excited by the opportunities we can create together.”

999 Design, which was established in 1982 and has around 25 staff, will continue to operate, with founders Bill Gaughan and Richard Bissland remaining in the business. The brand agency will be part of the Equator Group’s expanding portfolio of marketing businesses which also includes Equator PR and Equator Events.

Equator was established as a digital agency in 1999 and has enjoyed solid, year on year growth since. Last year it evolved its proposition to become an ideas agency, specialising in creative solutions that help brands connect with audiences in more meaningful ways across digital and off-line channels.

The agency currently employs 140 staff at its Glasgow headquarters and has a business development base in New York. The acquisition of 999 Design boosts its office footprint to include premises in Shoreditch London.

Bill Gaughan, director of 999 Design, said: “We have admired Equator and its impressive growth for many years. With its strength in digital and our own brand expertise, we believe we can capitalise on many new and existing opportunities together. This is an exciting time for both businesses and we look forward to working with John and the team for years to come.”