Founder Walmsley denies that i-Level is up for sale

Independent digital agency i-Level is understood to be in talks with AKQA and Aegis over a potential sale of the company.

It is understood that the company has spoken to a number of potential buyers, also including WPP Group, and is asking over £40m for the agency. Selling a strategic stake is another possibility.

The discussions follow the agency’s decision to bring in Igenius Media, a new media investment and consultancy business, to look at the agency’s strategic options as part of a periodic review at the end of a three-year strategy.

But i-Level co-founder and deputy chairman, Andrew Walmsley, denies that the company is up for sale “in whole or in part.”

He adds that the company was reviewing its strategic options, which could mean “bringing an investment in, or making an acquisition, a joint venture or expanding i-Level’s business.”

But he does concede that there have been “conversations with a whole bunch of people including AKQA and Aegis”.

He adds: “There are several more companies that we are having talks with that we haven’t dismissed.”

i-Level’s speciality is media planning and buying, which account around 60% of its business. Its clients include COI, the Department for Transport, William Hill, the Energy Savings Trust, the Food Standards Agency and the water regulator OFWAT.

But the agency has been hit in the short term by the loss of two high profile clients, Sky and the AA. Its profits are currently around £2.5m after allowing for the losses. It has revenues of about £14m.

i-Level was founded in 1999 by Walmsley and Charlie Dobres, who took a backseat as non-executive director of the business early last year.

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