WMGO in talks with French company 12

WMGO Group chief executive Chris Woollams is understood to be holding talks with a French group interested in buying some or all of the business.

Woollams would not confirm he is in discussions and would only say that the group “talks to lots of people all the time”.

The group only went public last June when it was the subject of a reverse buyout by business communications group MMI (MW June 10, 1994).

It comprises six different companies including advertising agency Woollams Moira Gaskin O’Malley, direct marketing agency Sutch Webster WMGO and sales promotion outfit LGM Marketing Services. The group has seen its share price plummet since last June from a high of 36.5p to 9p this week.

It has had a bad run since last December when it lost the Sun Life business, worth an estimated £4m, to Laing Henry after a row over fees. It then lost the Mercury One-2-One relationship marketing business to IMP in February, while the agency and Sutch Webster have both seen the departure of the £6m RAC account (MW February 24).

Woollams admits the advertising agency has been through a rough patch but says he will be spending more time there and claims his return in a full-time capacity “will stop the rot”.

“I’ve been away from the agency for a few months sorting things out within the group.

Now I have a lot more time to concentrate on the agency,” he claims.

Meanwhile, LGM Marketing Services is nearing the final tranche of its earnout arrangement set up when it was acquired by the WMGO agency in 1991. Woollams admits the £7.5m reverse buyout last year was partly to ensure that payments to LGM could be met.

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