Carat creates largest UK regional media firm with Scottish merger

– Carat has finalised its takeover of the Scottish media agency Feather Brooksbank and is merging it with its Manchester office to create the UK's largest regional media specialist.

– Carat has finalised its takeover of the Scottish media agency Feather Brooksbank and is merging it with its Manchester office to create the UK's largest regional media specialist.

The merged operation will have billings of over £105 million spread across three offices in Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow with a client portfolio that includes Standard Life, Scottish Power and the Scottish Tourist Board.

Acquisition talks have been going on for several months and the deal was finally confirmed this week. The poor performance of Carat Manchester, which has lost several major pieces of business over the past twelve months, including Iceland, and is understood to have been a prime driver of the deal.

Carat has paid an initial consideration of £7.5 million for Feather Brooksbank, with an earn-out package for its senior management. The merged entity will trade under the Feather Brooksbank name in a move that sees the Carat brand removed from the regions.

Ray Kelly, the chief executive of Carat in northern Europe, said that the deal was a demonstration of Carat's commitment to regional business. "The new company will be in a dominant position in the North and has enormous growth opportunities ahead of it," he said.

The head of Carat Manchester, Chris Broadbent, will now report to Stuart Feather, the managing director of Feather Brooksbank, who will report to Kelly. Feather said: "Joining the Carat family will immediately provide us with massively increased resource — in terms of volume, proprietary research, e-communications and access to global services."

In the same week Carat's parent company, Aegis, has seen its share price rise 10 pence to a high of 170p. Two investment companies, the Bankers Trust of Australia and Puttnams, are understood to have bought over ten million shares amid rumours that WPP could be building a stake in the media network.



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