After endless press speculation about their upcoming IPO, the brothers Saatchi and other founding directors of M&C Saatchi have finally confirmed the agency will be floated on London's Alternative Investment Market in July.
The IPO will be a relatively modest affair, estimated at between £70 million ($128.06m; €105.03m) to £75m, with the partners retaining a "significant stake" in the business to ensure ultimate control remains in their hands.
David Kershaw, chief executive-designate and a member of the founding quintet, says they will retain between them 60% of the equity.
"We still want to feel our destiny is in our hands. It's more psychological and emotional rather than rational. We feel better about it certainly as our first step back into the public arena."
[Observers with long memories will see the decision as very rational indeed. And entirely predictable in the light of the sibling Saatchis' unhappy experience of the IPO alligator pit in the early 90s when they retained a minority stake in Saatchi & Saatchi -- only to be surgically separated in December 1994 by Chicago fund manager David Herro from the agency that bore their name.]
M&CS plans to invest the cash raised for expansion into continental Europe and Asia. Operations will be launched in France, Italy, Spain and Germany within two years, while offices are also planned for Beijing, Delhi, Bangkok and Jakarta. Local management will be given a 20% stake in each business.
Says Kershaw: "Europe is an incredibly significant part of the advertising market and there's more and more pan-regional business coming out of Europe."
Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff