M&C Saatchi accepts takeover bid for $549m, with Vin Murria gazumped

British advertising group, M&C Saatchi has agreed a deal to be purchased by digital marketing group, Next Fifteen for £310 million (A$549m), after the group rejected a fourth bid last week from top shareholder, Vin Murria.

As the negotiations had rolled on through the entirety of 2022 so far, with tech entrepreneur Vin Murria eventually failing to agree to a takeover, with the final bid of £254 million (A$450m) falling well short of the eventual bid from Next Fifteen. The deal values shares of M&C Saatchi at 247.2 pence, as M&C Saatchi added the deal had the support of senior staff.

Mumbrella understands that locally there will be no material impact, however working with Next Fifteen provides an opportunity for a potential expansion of capabilities, particularly in data space.

M&C Saatchi was founded by brothers Maurice and Charles Saatchi in 1995, and with this will end 27 years as an independent agency group.

Tim Dyson, CEO of Next Fiften said: “M&C Saatchi is synonymous with creativity and strategy, whereas Next Fifteen has built a reputation around its technology and data driven offering. This makes for a great combination.”

Reuters reported Murria’s AdvancedadvT investment vehicle “said it was considering its options, noting it owned 22.3% of M&C’s stock”. Prior to the agreement, Murria’s stakes in M&C Saatchi (personal and through AdV) valued it at roughly £250 million (A$439m). Directors of M&C Saatchi said of Murria’s latest and final bid “significantly undervalues the business”. Mumbrella also understands, internally, the new bid from Next Fifteen was viewed favourably, as it seeks to continue an “organic growth” approach, rather than a more acquisition-based approach.

Vin Murria’s takeover deal failed to get over the line


Over the weekend, M&C Saatchi apologised for taking a campaign for auto-brand Audi to market, which was very quickly removed following accusations for plagiarism.

The South China Morning Post reported the ad, which featured Hong Kong celebrity, Andy Lau Tak-wah reading a monologue, was directly lifted from a video from a Chinese vlogger on Douyin (similar app to TikTok), published a year ago.

The vlogger, Beida Mange who has four million subscribers said: “I’ve been plagiarised many times before. But I’ve never seen this kind [of video campaign] … in which ads are embedded from beginning to end … and copied [my] content word for word.”

“We directly used the content of Douyin vlogger Beida Mange’s video about ‘Xiaoman’ without communicating with the copyright owner,” read a statement from M&C Saatchi on WeChat yesterday. “We apologise for bringing inconvenience and distress to Mr Andy Lau, Beida Mange and Audi, and promise to do our best to make up for the loss to the original author.”

The agency said the event arose due to “weak copyright awareness” by the company’s Audi service team.


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