Saatchi brothers invest in 'orphan' brands

LONDON - Having spent years advising brand owners on how to promote brands, the Saatchi brothers have decided to put their money where their mouths are and invest in brands through a new Saatchi venture.

The latest venture the pair are to embark on is called Saatchinvest and will adopt small or "orphan" brands -- brands that have been disposed of by large companies seeking to focus on their most profitable products.

According to reports, Saatchinvest is on the verge of taking control of its first two brands, both part of HJ Heinz. These are Complan, a meal replacement drink, and Casilan, a protein supplement for bodybuilders. Lord Saatchi has said that he hopes the deal will be the first of many.

The investors behind Saatchinvest are the 10 founders of M&C Saatchi, including Charles and Lord Maurice Saatchi.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Lord Saatchi said: "We won't be looking for brands that do not have a decent share of their market."

Many consumer products giants, including Procter & Gamble and Unilever, have began divestment programmes of what they consider to be non-core brands, in order to focus marketing resources on the most profitable brands.

Unilever, in particular, has committed itself to reducing its portfolio of brands from 1,600 to 400. It was watching this reduction that led M&C Saatchi directors to launch the new venture.

In the long term, Saatchinvest will seek to realise the value of these brands by selling them on.

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