A NORTH-EAST creative studio, which counts Disney, Tomy and Lego among its key clients, has changed its ownership team with help from local dealmakers.

Newcastle-based Paul Windle Creative Studio was founded in 1989 by artist and designer Paul Windle, who died in 2004 aged just 43. The business was then the subject of a buy-out by three of the management team including directors Keith Opie and John Dyer.

The third member of the management team took the decision to leave the business and has now been bought out.

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The deal has been completed by business advisers UNW and law firm Muckle LLP and will see the creative agency, which also works for movie firm Warner Bros, diversify into new markets with a possible future move into the gaming industry.

It hopes its illustrations, which appear on a range of merchandise from toy and games packaging, stationery and clothing to McDonalds' Happy Meal toys, can be used in animation and design.

The pair were advised by UNW's Simon Richards and Muckle's Philip Clare who helped the directors structure and negotiate the deal for the business, which employs five staff at its Sandyford Road premises.

Mr Dyer said: “We are used to doing static illustrations for the traditional toy and games industry so we felt the next logical step was moving into digital gaming and we hope to pick up work for video games such as concept work for pre-production, visualisation and character concept work.

“We felt it was right to buy out the part of the business we did not already own ourselves, rather than invite another director into the studio.

“We were expecting a long, drawn out process but to be honest UNW and Muckle made the deal slick and it went through quickly and seamlessly.”

UNW partner Simon Richards said: “UNW has been involved with the business since before a management buyout eight years ago and are delighted in how successful the team has been in building upon the business’ core strengths to diversify and take advantage of the opportunities presented by a growing market and the digital age.

“It was very important for all concerned that this change took place with the minimum of disruption to ensure continuity of service to clients and to leave the management team free to focus on external matters.”

Muckle Associate Solicitor Philip Clare said: “It has been great working with Keith, John and Simon on this deal. It's an exciting business and I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Paul Windle Design.”