GGK chiefs buy out media arm

GGK’s media operation, Frontline Media, has been bought out by media director Paul Prince and international media director John Nichols, who become joint managing directors.

The move follows GGK’s loss of the £7.5m National & Provincial advertising business (MW November 18, 1994), including the media account, and the loss of media-buying for Skoda and IBM. This prompted a review of in-house media requirements.

Five members of GGK’s media department have been made redundant because of the loss of the N&P business. However, four are now to join Frontline in its new guise as media independent.

This has fuelled speculation that the agency will be bought out by its management.

GGK chief executive Andrew Hawkins says talks have been under way for more than a year between the management and the receivers of parent company, GGK International, in Zurich. It is thought the management team of Hawkins and creative director Paul Cardwell were waiting for news about the N&P account before making a bid.

Hawkins says: “N&P tells us it no longer needs a London-based agency. Above-the-line expenditure is taking a tumble. It has significant implications for restructuring our media department.”

GGK’s future is now thought to hang in the balance. The management could go ahead with a buy-out from the receivers. Alternatively, a merger could go ahead with GGT. Such a merger had been discussed previously, but was ruled out when GGT won the conflicting Nationwide business.

GGK could face a further blow if it loses the £5m Skoda UK account, which is under review with a two-way pitch between GGK and Grey (MW July 8, 1994). A result is expected this week.

Andrew Hawkins insists GGK’s future is secure with £22m of billings, including two recently-won accounts, InterCity West Coast and Allinson Wholemeal.

Frontline was originally set up as a wholly-owned subsidiary of GGK last year.

GGK claims Frontline’s business grew rapidly, adding £5m billings from clients including Citizen (Europe), SCO Software, Burlington Air Europe, Muscular Dystrophy and Keycamp Holidays.By David Benady of the £7.5m National & Provincial advertising business (MW November 18, 1994), including the media account, and the loss of media-buying for Skoda and IBM. This prompted a review of in-house media requirements.

Five members of GGK’s media department have been made redundant because of the loss of the N&P business. However, four are now to join Frontline in its new guise as media independent.

This has fuelled speculation that the agency will be bought out by its management.

GGK chief executive Andrew Hawkins says talks have been under way for more than a year between the management and the receivers of parent company, GGK International, in Zurich. It is thought the management team of Hawkins and creative director Paul Cardwell were waiting for news about the N&P account before making a bid.

Hawkins says: “N&P tells us it no longer needs a London-based agency. Above-the-line expenditure is taking a tumble. It has significant implications for restructuring our media department.”

GGK’s future is now thought to hang in the balance. The management could go ahead with a buy-out from the receivers. Alternatively, a merger could go ahead with GGT. Such a merger had been discussed previously, but was ruled out when GGT won the conflicting Nationwidebusiness.

GGK could face a further blow if it loses the £5m Skoda UK account, which is under review with a two-way pitch between GGK and Grey (MW July 8, 1994). A result is expected this week.

Andrew Hawkins insists GGK’s future is secure with £22m of billings, including two recently-won accounts, InterCity West Coast and Allinson Wholemeal.

Frontline was originally set up as a wholly-owned subsidiary of GGK last year.

GGK claims Frontline’s business grew rapidly, adding £5m billings from clients including Citizen (Europe), SCO Software, Burlington Air Europe, Muscular Dystrophy and Keycamp Holidays.

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