French agency giant Havas has completed its long-expected sale of London shop WCRS back to the latter's management.

WCRS -- whose clients include BMW and Sara Lee -- is part of Havas' Arnold Worldwide division. A management buyout has been on the cards for several months as the French group reorganises to cut costs [WAMN: 16-Mar-04].

Havas has sold 75% of the shop to WCRS chairman Robin Wight and former managing director Peter Scott (who become joint chairmen), plus executive creative director Leon Jaume and chief executive Stephen Woodford. They are said to have paid around £20 million ($37m; €30m) for the stake.

The holding company retains a 25% share, and the London agency will continue to serve as Arnold's UK outpost.

Havas at one time planned to build Arnold into a second global network behind its flagship Euro RSCG Worldwide. But under the restructuring unveiled last year, the division now serves as a "creative alternative" to Euro RSCG in key markets only [WAMN: 05-Nov-03].

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