M&C Saatchi rejects fresh offer from top shareholder

FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the reception of the M&C Saatchi office in central London, Britain, January 6, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) -Advertising giant M&C Saatchi has rejected a fresh takeover offer from the acquisition vehicle of its top shareholder Vin Murria.

Murria’s AdvancedAdvT said on Monday that it had proposed to offer 2.245 of its shares for each M&C Saatchi share, representing a 20.7% increase on its previous proposal, but that the agency’s independent directors turned down the new offer late on Sunday.

Earlier this month the ad group, founded in 1995 by brothers and ad moguls Maurice and Charles Saatchi, had said it did not see much merit in an all-share takeover instigated by its biggest investor.

The rejection came after M&C Saatchi announced in a trading update on Friday that full year 2021 headline profit before tax will be ahead of expectations, while a regulatory investigation into the group had closed without any enforcement action.

Murria is M&C’s deputy chairman and biggest investor. She owns 12.5% of M&C directly, while AdvancedAdvT owns another 9.8%.

AdvancedAdvT said in Monday’s statement that a merger would provide M&C with significant investment capital. It said it would propose a new board structure after a merger that would see Saatchi’s Moray MacLennan continue as chief executive and AdvancedAdvT’s Gavin Hugill become chief operating officer of the merged entity.

Vin Murria would act as chairperson with a majority of independent directors.

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