New Saatchi talks to three…

Maurice Saatchi’s breakaway agency is continuing its search for an international partner after a breakdown in talks with D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in the US. Three potential network partners are thought to be lined up if it wins British Airways.

According to US sources, the negotiations failed because Procter&Gamble, a client of both DMB&B and Saatchi & Saatchi, refused to sanction the deal.

DMB&B is said to have approached P&G about the alliance talks which then told the agency it would lose the account if it created an alliance with the New Saatchi Agency.

More worrying for the fledgling agency will be the apparent growing hostility to Maurice Saatchi’s venture in the US which culminated in a blistering attack in Advertising Age.

“People in the US were turned off the agency when he invited all the Saatchi British Airways team to his home,” says one senior agency figure.

It is believed the New Saatchi Agency partners met Ayer chief Richard Humphreys while he was in London last week. The new agency has also been linked to deals with the Lowe Group and WPP, although both groups deny there have been negotiations.

The agency wants to secure an international partner before it pitches for the £60m British Airways account in March.

Meanwhile, the London office of Saatchi & Saatchi has drawn up a shortlist of candidates to replace one of the agency’s defectors, David Kershaw, as chairman. The list will be discussed at a board meeting on February 15.

Saatchi & Saatchi plc is headhunting an American as chairman, following Peter Davis’ decision to withdraw as a candidate.

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