CME.KHBB management buyout stalls

CME.KHBB’s planned management buyout from Cordiant has fallen through. The proposed deal followed the then Saatchi & Saatchi’s decision to close CME.

CME.KHBB’s planned management buyout from Cordiant has fallen through.

The proposed deal followed the then Saatchi & Saatchi’s decision to close CME.KHBB’s European offices and sell off the agency in the US, leaving the London office isolated (MW March 17).

“The deal is technically alive,” says one source, “but there is a 100 per cent feeling that it is a matter of appearance rather than reality.

“The reality is that the management was trying to do a deal but that it is now not going to happen.”

It is understood that the senior managers at the agency involved in the buyout proposal could not agree on the best way forward.

But agency chairman Hamish Pringle, one of those most closely involved, denies that the deal is off.

“We have not reached a decision yet and I have no further comment,” he says.

Cordiant chairman and chief executive Charlie Scott told shareholders last week that the group would retain its existing portfolio of companies.

But CME.KHBB and its client list which includes Carlsberg Tetley, the GM Card from Vauxhall and Uniroyal will now become a trade sale prospect for other agencies.

Heinz will return to TV in July with a series of 30 ten-second ads through Bates Dorland, which will top and tail commercial breaks. The ads feature about 12 Heinz products. They include one of an asphalter laying out his beans as he would tarmac on a road. The campaign runs counter to Heinz’s claim last year that it would drop product-based TV ads in favour of an umbrella branding campaign (MW June 16).

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