Three co-founders of M&C Saatchi throw their weight behind Next 15’s £310m takeover of pioneering advertising agency
Three co-founders of M&C Saatchi have thrown their weight behind communications giant Next 15’s £310million takeover of the pioneering advertising agency.
Industry veterans David Kershaw, Jeremy Sinclair and Bill Muirhead all plan to back the deal, which was revealed on Friday and has already won the unanimous support of M&C Saatchi’s board.
The trio founded the agency with brothers Maurice and Charles in 1995 after an American activist investor ousted them from their original group, Saatchi & Saatchi, which was behind Margaret Thatcher’s famous ‘Labour Isn’t Working’ campaign.
Bidding war: Next 15’s bid trumps a series of rejected offers from deputy chairman and tech industry veteran Vin Murria, which M&C Saatchi claimed were undervalued
Next 15’s bid trumps a series of rejected offers from deputy chairman and tech industry veteran Vin Murria, which M&C Saatchi claimed were undervalued. Murria is the bid target’s biggest shareholder.
Murria said on Friday she would not increase her most recent bid, which was at a lower value than Next 15’s. M&C Saatchi’s second-largest backer Octopus Investments has withdrawn its earlier support for her bid – though it has not confirmed if it supports Next 15’s deal.
Kershaw, Sinclair and Muirhead – who now run a consultancy called Act111 – still collectively own more than 8 per cent of the AIM-listed company’s stock. This makes them crucial backers for Next 15 to get its takeover across the line.
Kershaw said: ‘I can speak on behalf of my fellow founders that we will certainly support it. It is good from a shareholder point of view, puts it at a value we think is fair and for the people in the business we’re delighted as well.’