London-headquartered ad agency M&C Saatchi has unbuttoned its corporate pocket to spend some of the £68 million ($122.7m; €98.35m) it raised in July via a partial IPO [WAMN 13-Jul-04].

Out of the Saatchi pocket spilled an unspecified sum; into it leapt Bangkok agency Spaulding & Co. The investment buys M&CS a controlling 60% stake, with the remainder of the equity held by the shop's founders Ron Spaulding and Amornpimol Thanakitamnuay.

In the year to date, Spaulding has billed around Baht 50 million ($1.21m; €966.7k; £668.4k) with profits of Baht 6m.

Why Bangkok? "Thailand is clearly a creative hub," says M&CS' local executive Tom Dery. "The task now is to build an M&C Saatchi ethic there."

Meantime, Maurice Saatchi interrupted his Asian odyssey in Hong Kong to comment: "We raised money to invest in Asia-Pacific. We want it to be a serious part of our business."

And looking with avid eyes across Causeway Bay to the latterday Klondyke of the People's Republic: "There are many agency networks keen to sell to multinational clients in China. But we have been struck by a different emphasis: an appetite among Chinese companies that have been successful exporters to establish their own brands. We wonder if we can't help them fill in the blanks."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff