M&C Saatchi agrees £310mn takeover by Next Fifteen

M&C Saatchi has agreed a £310mn takeover by Next Fifteen, days after the advertising group rejected a lower “hostile” offer from the investment vehicle of its largest shareholder Vin Murria.

The move from Next Fifteen, a larger communications and marketing company, follows months of wrangling over M&C’s future after the takeover attempt by Murria, a serial tech entrepreneur who owns a 12.5 per cent stake in the company.

M&C, a UK ad agency founded by the Saatchi brothers and known for its ties to the Conservative party, this week rejected Murria’s sweetened offer of £254mn through AdvancedAdvT, also known as ADV.

Gareth Davis, M&C’s chair, described the offer by the deputy chair Murria as “derisory”.

M&C’s independent directors on Friday instead gave their unanimous support for a higher £310mn cash and shares offer from Next Fifteen, a listed communications group with a market value of around £1.2bn.

Tim Dyson, chief executive of Next Fifteen, said it would bring together “two highly complementary businesses”.

“Bringing M&C Saatchi into the Next Fifteen group provides us with a step change in our scale and global reach,” he said.

Davis expressed his support for “this alternative, more attractive offer which we are confident is in the best interest of M&C”.

He said the independent directors “consider Next Fifteen’s offer to be far superior to the offer announced earlier this week by ADV, and a clear repudiation of ADV’s response statement that it strongly disagreed its bid undervalued M&C Saatchi”.

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