UK Management Trio Bid to Buyout WCRS From Havas

22 August 2003

Disenchanted, perhaps, at the latest restructuring by French-owned agency holding group Havas [WAMN: 11-Aug-03], London shop WCRS – a unit of the latter’s Arnold Worldwide Partners network – is in the throes of negotiating a buyout from its parent company.

Led by a trio comprising WCRS co-founder and chairman Robin Wight, chief executive Stephen Woodford and creative director Leon Jaume, talks have been held with Arnold chairman/ceo Ed Eskandarian.

The latter was guarded when asked about the possible buyout: “There are many things going on in our reorganisation of Havas,” he said, “and until we have firmed up what we are doing in total there is no comment on specific issues or speculation.”

News of the venture came to light only after the WCRS trio had approached Bartle Bogle Hegarty creative director Russell Ramsey to dangle a joint-creative directorship in the planned buyout. He is said to be teetering on the cusp of the offer.

Also reportedly involved is another WCRS co-founder Peter Scott – multimillionaire entrepreneur and a former chairman of Aegis Group – who would be concerned with the funding of a successful buyout.

Wight, who despite his trademark bow tie, is widely regarded as a UK ad Mahatma with a goldplated address book. He is a former advisor to one-time Conservative Party leader William Hague and also chairs Arts & Business, a charity of which Prince Charles Windsor is president.

Meantime, WCRS declined to comment on the possible buyout.

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