M&C Saatchi seems well and truly in play with investment vehicle AdvancedAdvT upping its all share offer by about 20% (rejected again by the board) and Sky News reporting that a 40p cash sweetener is also in the wings.
M&C shareholders may well decide that, as the agency appears to be recovering and it’s just been announced that the City authorities will take no action over its accounting difficulties (a result), they may as well stick with the management rather than the bid orchestrated by M&C deputy chairman, tech entrepreneur Vin Murria.
Key to AdvancedAdvT is PE outfit Marwyn which has has been a backer of cash shells (where you raise money and then decide what to do with it) and takeovers including WeBuyAnyCar owner BCA Marketplace and Entertainment One, the owner of Peppa Pig. M&C in the same stable as Peppa Pig (Boris Johnson’s favourite, of course) is a diverting notion.
All this to-ing and fro-ing, despite the firm opposition of the M&C board chaired by city veteran Gareth Davis, may flush out another bidder. Davis and co are (probably rightly) dubious about the benefits of shares in a vehicle that might lose all its money on another investment. A cash offer would be a different matter however.
M&C, even in recovery, isn’t that big. It’s currently value at about £220m. Would sir Martin Sorrell’s S4Capital be interested. M&C hardly matches the characteristics of its other biggish acquisitions – chiefly content factory Media.Monks – but Sorrell came to prominence at the old Saatchi & Saatchi (famously dubbed the icycreamio brothers by Private Eye) and a creative agency with digital smarts might round off S4C’s offer.
Maurice Lervy and Arthur Sadoun might be tempted to re-unite the two arms of the once mighty Saatchi empire under Publicis.
Doesn’t look like the bidders will go away.