Next 15 in surprise £310m swoop on embattled M&C Saatchi

We thought another bidder might be circling M&C Saatchi as it batted off Vin Murria’s takeover bid but didn’t expect it to be Next 15, the £1.2bn tech based agency group that is currently absorbing £81m Engine Creative.

Next 15 CEO Tim Dyson says the deal brings together “two highly complementary businesses. Bringing M&C Saatchi into Next 15 group provides us with a step change in our scale and global reach.”

It certainly provides international scale with M&C’s somewhat rambling network – many of its agencies are only minority owned – and makes Next one of the bigger players in UK adland. As well as Engine it owns fashion agency ODD.

ODD CEO Phil Fearnley is currently in the process of integrating Engine with ODD. It will be interesting to see who gets the job of running the whole shebang under group boss Dyson, Fearnley or M&C veteran Moray MacLennan.

The story might not be over yet of course. Other bidders may show their hand. The prospect of gobbling up M&C Saatchi must be highly tempting for S4Capital’s Sir Martin Sorrell, who cut his teeth at the old Saatchi & Saatchi before founding WPP.

Update

M&C CEO MacLennan says: “This merger will be a powerful accelerator for M&C Saatchi. Through connecting with Next 15 capabilities and companies, our ability to deliver meaningful change for existing and new clients will be deepened and broadened, turbo charging our next phase of growth.”

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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.

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