Prize-winning architect sells out to AIM-listed practice.

SMC Group has bought Alsop, the Stirling prize-winning architecture and design company led by Will Alsop for £1.8m. It is the architect's sixth acquisition since it was joined AIM, the junior stock exchange, nine months ago. Stewart McColl, SMC's chief executive, said that the deal would boost the company's global profile, and would increase its exposure to larger, higher-margin projects. Alsop has offices in London, Toronto, Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore.

Will Alsop said: "At Alsop, we attract exciting and dynamic design commissions from all around the world. Joining the SMC Group will allow us to continue to apply our creative skills within a successfully structured business environment with a strong project implementation record."

The move will allow Alsop's team to continue to focus on creative development, while McColl concentrates on the commercial aspects.

Managing director Colin Gilmore Merchant, senior partner Stephen Pimbley and Alsop himself will all receive a performance-related payment, based on profitability for each of the three years to December 2008.