Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Digital services firm growing

Acquires local design company

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A Winnipeg-based communications company has made the first of what it hopes will be a series of acquisitions to build out its footprint across North America.

ClarkHuot/Cocoon, an integrated brand development and digital services firm with offices in Winnipeg and New York, has acquired design studio Vantage Studios for an undisclosed sum.

Kyle Romaniuk, manager director of ClarkHuot/Cocoon's Canadian operations, said Vantage, which did digital printing for his firm, had been on its radar screen for about six months.

"It's a pretty small industry; we all know each other. We approached (Vantage general manager Donovan Robinson) and asked him about his vision and goals and we saw pretty quickly that there was an alignment there. We see a lot of potential in how we can create synergies and complementary services for our clients. Having them as part of our group will add more expertise and scalability to our operations," he said.

Romaniuk said ClarkHuot/Cocoon was particularly attracted to Vantage's in-house printing and production capabilities.

While this acquisition was close to home -- Vantage's offices on Princess Street are just a few blocks away from ClarkHuot/Cocoon's headquarters on Lombard Avenue -- Romaniuk said it will start searching further afield for its next acquisition.

"We're looking for opportunities to offer our clients more reach across North America.

"Our home town is Winnipeg so we're starting here and working our way out," he said.

Last January, three creative agencies -- Clark + Huot, Cocoon Branding and Velocity Branding/Spacecadet Design -- merged to create one of the city's largest branding/marketing firms.

Vantage will continue to operate as a stand-alone business, run by Robinson, where designers, artists and creative people from all specialities will come together to work on a wide range of projects. Joining ClarkHuot/Cocoon made "a lot of sense" because the two businesses are complementary, Robinson said.

"I believe this move will result in a new and inspiring place where we are always producing great work," he said.

ClarkHuot/Cocoon has 24 employees, including 20 in Winnipeg, while Vantage has a staff of eight.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 11, 2012 B6

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