Elaine Watson US sales and marketing giant Crossmark is looking for acquisition opportunities this side of the Atlantic in a bid to consolidate its position in the UK brokerage market. Crossmark established a UK base in London last month, fronted by former John Lusty execs Derek Wilson and Martin Wathes, and Crossmark's New England divisional head David Kerbel. UK sales and marketing director Martin Wathes said Crossmark had a three- pronged strategy to drive growth in the UK. "First, we're establishing business opportunities. Second, we're launching acquisition opportunities. Third, we see the UK as a European hub to launch into other countries." Talks are progressing on all three fronts, he added. Crossmark's global reach presents UK exporters with an attractive proposition to get their brands into other markets through the Crossmark family, which stretches from the US to Australia, said Wathes. Conversely, Crossmark's links with companies in these countries wil help it strengthen its client list in the UK, as manufacturers always prefer to deal with fewer agencies. Consolidation in the fmcg sector is being mirrored by consolidation in sales and marketing, said Wathes, and Crossmark had the cash to launch aggressive moves into additional international markets. Crossmark UK has already signed up a clutch of brands including Nabisco's Oreo snacks and Royal baking powder, India's leading Basmati rice brand Kohinoor, and Master Café ­ an iced coffee in a can launched at the Convenience Retail Show in Birmingham this year. Kohinoor basmati is particularly exciting for Crossmark, which has been tasked with taking it into the multiples and developing a branded presence in a category dominated by own label, said Wathes. The brand sits in the fastest growing area of the rice market. {{NEWS }}