M&C Saatchi swallows Lean Mean Fighting Machine

Lean Mean Fighting Machine, one of more annoying agency names in the UK, is no more – the digital agency, founded in 2004, has sold to M&C Saatchi.

LMFM’s clients include Unilever, De Beers and Land Rover. The founders – Sam Ball, Tom Bazeley, Dave Bedwood and Dave Cox (see here with M&C CEO Lisa Thomas) and their entire staff – join M&C Saatchi from June 2014.

Bazeley says: “It’s only my wife’s persistence that has stopped me tattooing the Lean Mean Fighting Machine logo up my arm. I love this agency like a weird adopted child, but after ten years the time feels right to mix things up a bit. Joining M&C Saatchi will allow us to keep our spirit but practice on a bigger stage. Just like Lean Mean Fighting Machine, M&C Saatchi is a challenger brand – albeit on a much grander scale – and it’s exciting to be jumping into the middle of such a well-known agency.”

Thomas says: “Lean Mean Fighting Machine’s sense of adventure and innovation perfectly complement M&C Saatchi’s entrepreneurial spirit. Likewise, their industry defining skills across all digital channels will augment our extensive digital capabilities, allowing us to unlock more creative opportunities for our clients.”

M&C Saatchi hasn’t enjoyed the greatest of times recently, losing Dixons and Direct Line, although the agency is still producing decent financial numbers. It recently sold 75 per cent of Walker Media to Publicis Groupe, which topped up its coffers. LMFM made quite a splash when it launched but, like many UK start-ups, seems to have failed to train on, as Paddy Power might put it.

With the brakes finally off UK adspend – up four per cent in 2013 with five per cent or more expected this year – the bigger agencies can be expected to dust off their chequebooks for more acquisitions.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.