An expanding integrated marketing group has established its first base outside the South East with the acquisition of a specialist Sunderland creative agency.

Selbey Anderson has acquired IGNIFI, a creative and digital agency working exclusively in human and animal health, pharmaceuticals and biotech, as part of its strategic plans to extend its presence into the healthcare sector and expand into northern England.

And it is now looking for further acquisition opportunities within the North East creative, digital and tech sectors.

IGNIFI employs twenty-five staff who provide a range of services including marketing, creative, design and digital, and is expected to achieve revenues of £2.5m this year.

Directors Dave Watson and Rob Philips are remaining with the business.

Michael Cantwell of RMT Accountants & Business Advisors in Newcastle and Lester Wilson from the Leeds office of solicitors DWF advised the IGNIFI management team on the sale of the business.

Founded in 2018, Selbey Anderson has achieved annualised revenues of £12.5m and employs 120 staff.

Dom Hawes, Group CEO at Selbey Anderson, said: “Some commentators believe that the 2020s will be the ‘decade of healthcare’ and it’s a sector in which we’ve wanted to be active since we founded Selbey Anderson.

“Finding the right fit, both for us and for an agency, is no easy feat, but we got on with IGNIFI famously from day one and the agency now brings its deep sector expertise to the group adding hugely to our capability.

“We’re also conscious that the creative, digital and tech sectors in the North East are growing fast and could offer further opportunities to the Group. We see our acquisition of IGNIFI as the first step in a longer-term strategy in the region.

“IGNIFI is doing some fascinating work in specific sectors within the broader healthcare area including animal healthcare, a global market worth $67 billion and wellbeing, a sector that, post-Pandemic will be of enormous interest to consumers”.

IGNIFI managing director Dave Watson adds: “IGNIFI performed exceptionally well and continued to grow its overall business and service provision during 2020.

“Joining the Selbey Anderson Group at this stage of our development adds extra impetus and opportunities with a like-minded team who really value our independent thinking and client-first focus.

“The support we had from the RMT and DWF teams through the acquisition process was first rate and we’re excited by what we can now achieve as part of a bigger integrated organisation.”

Michael Cantwell, head of corporate finance at RMT Accountants, says: “Dave and Rob have built up a very successful business with a strong industry reputation and we’re very pleased to have helped them complete a deal with such a well-regarded and ambitious buyer.”