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The UK’s fastest growing private companies: Hot 100 2015 – (20) Global Merchandising

Offices in London and Los Angeles make Global Merchandising Services in a great position to develop products for entertainment artists and events including Iron Maiden and WWE.
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Name: Global Merchandising Services
Industry/sector: Retail and related services
Date founded: 2008
The boss: Barry Drinkwater
Location: London
Latest turnover: £92m
Three-year compound growth rate (%): 58.23
Latest EBITDA: £8.1m

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The memorably-named Barry Drinkwater used his experience from his role as founder and CEO of merchandising firm Bravado, which manufactures materials for the likes of Alicia Keys, Abba, Cher and Ellie Goulding.

He sold the business to UK-based TV production firm Sanctuary for £7.8 million in 2002, which provided further opportunities for the business to scale across music, TV and film. It was subsequently acquired by Universal Music in 2007.

Drinkwater proceeded to create Global Merchandising Services in 2008, a company that has offices in London and Los Angeles, which makes it in ideal territories to connect with the worlds of entertainment.

The company supports design, product development, manufacturing and sales for live events, web stores, sponsorships, and third-party licensing.

Merchandise from Beyonce, Olly Murs, Dolly Parton, Cheryl Cole and Elton John can be found on Global Merchandising Services, with everything from clothing, accessories, jewellery, calendars and more up for grabs.

Another key client that uses Global Merchandising Services is boy band One Direction. In 2012, the firm signed a deal with toy industry giant Hasbro to unite on the production of fashion dolls and mini figures globally.

“With an impressive portfolio of toys, games and entertainment-based products successfully marketed across the globe, Hasbro is the perfect partner to help us reach One Direction fans in an exciting new way,” Drinkwater revealed.

Previous (19) Chartway Group

Next (21) Strongvox

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Zen Terrelonge

Zen Terrelonge is the deputy editor of Real Business, specialising in media, innovation, technology and the digital sector. A media professional with eight years worth of experience he has worked for both startup and established publications.

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