Big data specialist Creator sold to Inspired Thinking Group


Clearwater International has advised the management team of market leader Creator on its sale to marketing services and technology company Inspired Thinking Group (ITG).

Following its formation 10 years ago, Creator specialises in electronic customer relationship management (eCRM). Creator’s data management and analysis is already favoured by Virgin Media, Merck Sharp & Dohme and TUI Group.

Birmingham-based ITG, a portfolio company of Bridgepoint Development Capital, recently opened offices in New York and Chicago to expand its operation into the USA. The group already has a mature operation in Europe, and currently manages the creation and distribution of Heineken’s below-the-line assets across more than 130 countries. ITG’s award-winning Media Centre technology helps manage the marketing operations of major retailers and brands including M&S, Audi, Pets at Home and Renault.

In 2015, ITG made a significant investment in retail agency Vitamin, boosting its ability to offer high-level retail strategy and consultancy to new clients including Tesco and B&Q. This latest acquisition will enable ITG to offer a deeper level of marketing intelligence and customer insight to clients. Following the deal, ITG now employs over 500 marketing and technology specialists.

Clearwater International, led by partner Phil Burns with support from director Emma Rodgers associate director Helen Lowe and associate Stephen Nemeth, advised the Creator shareholders.

Creator founder Mark Brennan, who remains at the company as CEO, commented: “Joining the ITG family, with its highly regarded marketing technology and professional services, will significantly strengthen our offering to the retail sector both at home and abroad.”

Simon Ward, ITG chief executive, said: “Marketers increasingly rely on timely, relevant and personalised communications as they engage with customers across multiple channels. Providing the detailed customer intelligence to support marketers in developing their communications strategy is at the core of what Creator does. The acquisition of Creator appreciably extends our proposition in the era of big data and the company’s expertise perfectly complements the marketing services we currently deliver to our clients.”

Phil Burns, Managing Partner at Clearwater International added: “Creator is an multi-award winning, creative leader in the world of data marketing with an impressive history of organic growth to date. The strategic acquisition by Inspired Thinking Group (ITG) will enable Creator to continue to strengthen its portfolio of international brands, particularly in the retail sector where market intelligence, customer insight and the ability to tailor a consumer’s marketing experience are indispensable. We look forward to watching the Group’s ongoing expansion.”