M&C Saatchi Prepares Flotation to Bankroll Drive into Europe

26 March 2004

M&C Saatchi is planning to sell a minority holding on the stock market as it prepares to expand into continental Europe.

The London-based agency is valued at around £75 million ($135m; €112m). Around three-quarters of this sum is accounted for by the stakes of Maurice and Charles Saatchi -- who set up the business after their acrimonious departure from Saatchi & Saatchi -- and fellow founders Bill Muirhead, David Kershaw and Jeremy Sinclair.

All of the above have agreed to float a significant minority holding on London's AIM exchange for small companies. The agency plans to sell the shares to as many as twenty institutions by the end of the year.

The resulting funds will be used to set up operations in France, Germany, Spain and Italy. M&C's growth to date has been limited to Australia, eastern Asia and North America.

This expansion will be accompanied by a shake-up of the agency's management. Nick Hurrell and Moray MacLennan will end their spell as joint chief executives of the London business: the former to become European chairman with responsibility for launching new offices; the latter to take sole charge of the UK operation.

M&C management believes the flotation will keep the agency debt-free and independent. It will also give the founders some return on the business, though all have reportedly agreed to arrangements that would tie them to the business in the future.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff