M&C Saatchi back in play as share prices stutter

The M&C Saatchi share price isn’t helping the M&C board and preferred suitor Next15, sinking below 200p which makes rival Vin Murria’s bid, exceeded comfortably by Next15’s £310m a couple of weeks ago, more attractive.

Next15’s share price isn’t helping either, way off its year high of around 1400p. Both bids have a big share component.

Tech entrepreneur Murria, who controls around 22% of M&C through a personal holding and her investment vehicle AdvancedAdvT, has been unceremoniously booted off the M&C board although it’s hard to see how she could still function as deputy chairman.

The upshot of all this is that M&C, now valued at £239m, is back in play. Next15 might find it hard to increase its bid as, judging by its share price, shareholders are unconvinced by the deal. Tech-based stocks are heading south anyway on both sides of the Atlantic as S4Capital’s Sir Martin Sorrell might confirm.

M&C isn’t exactly a sitting duck as the agency recently announced buoyant expectations for turnover and profit this year and next, although that might change as the global economy faces headwinds from all quarters.

But any bidder with an armful of cash might be a relief to rather confused shareholders, not to mention the team, headed by CEO Moray MacLennan, trying to run an agency which has still to recapture its glory days.

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