Grey to invest in Naked Ambition

Grey Worldwide London is to take a significant stake in Naked's new venture Naked Ambition.

The ad agency is keen to emulate the success of Mother in backing Naked's original launch and of Clemmow Hornby Inge in joining forces with Naked to launch Naked Inside.

Details of Grey's involvement in Naked Ambition, a spin-off from Naked to enable it to handle conflict, have not been confirmed. However, one source suggested that the ownership of Naked Ambition could involve Grey taking a 30 per cent interest, with Naked's founders maintaining a controlling 51 per cent share and Naked Ambition's management, led by the former Mediaedge:cia managing director, Matt James, taking 19 per cent equity.

Garry Lace, Grey's chief executive, denied that a deal had already been done and also said that the 30 per cent equity figure was "wide of the mark". He said: "We are in the middle of talking to them (Naked) but as it stands I can't tell you what will happen. Absolutely nothing is signed or sealed yet and there is every chance there might not be."

Grey's talks with Naked raise the possibility of Naked sharing Grey clients, as it has done with Mother clients such as Orange, ITV Digital and Batchelors.

The talks also raise questions over Grey's relationship with its sister media agency MediaCom. However, Naked has worked closely with MediaCom in the past on shared clients such as Egg. Steve Allan, the chief executive of MediaCom, refused to comment on the talks.

James joins Naked next week to launch Naked Ambition, which is part of the agency's strategy to diversify into a family of smaller companies rather than building one large agency.

Naked hopes that Naked Ambition will be able to work for clients that conflict with existing Naked business as well as building its own relationships.

Nobody at Naked was available for comment.

- Behind the Hype, p14.

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