Saatchi merger deal seals K’s fate

K Advertising, the beleaguered reincarnation of KHBB, has finally folded into its sister agency, Saatchi and Saatchi. The move follows more than a year of speculation about its future.

K Advertising, the beleaguered reincarnation of KHBB, has finally

folded into its sister agency, Saatchi and Saatchi. The move follows

more than a year of speculation about its future.



Hamish Pringle, K’s chairman, becomes vice-chairman and marketing

director of Saatchis. He retains his client responsibilities and will

take on new business.



The merger raises questions over K’s pounds 4.7 million Commercial

Union account, which is in direct conflict with Saatchis’ Norwich Union

business. Adam Crozier, the Saatchis joint chief executive, said the

proposed solution was to move Commercial Union into Saatchis’

integrated agency, Team Saatchi.



But sources suggest there is a client conflict at Team Saatchi, and

that CU will reject the proposal and run existing work before launching

a full pitch.



K’s 34 account handlers and creatives will be integrated into existing

Saatchis group structures. There have been six redundancies, the most

senior being the Saatchis new-business manager, Jo Smith.



The K deal brings clients including Cheltenham and Gloucester, Puma,

Carlsberg and Alcatel into Saatchis.



K billed pounds 31.2 million last year, according to Register-MEAL.



Pringle said he finally bowed to the inevitable after the resignation

of K’s creative director, Keith Courtney, last week to join Leagas

Shafron Davis. K had been finding it difficult to hire senior staff.

Last year, Pringle was unable to find an account director to run the

agency’s flagship client, Carlsberg, and was forced to second a

Saatchis executive, David Goring-Morris.



Pringle said: ’We created the K brand but in the face of relentless

gossip, it became a self-fulfilling prophesy. I feel like we’ve been

nibbled to death by ducks. I fully support this merger and believe it

is in the very best interests of both our clients and our staff.’



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