Between the Lines: Billetts and founder benefit

John Billett is loved and loathed in equal measure. Pompous, perhaps; controversial, sometimes; but even his enemies will admit he is a man of principle, and he is an institution nonetheless.

So he is owed congratulations for realising his assets and selling the company he built from scratch in a deal that could net him nearly £10 million (page 1).

The money is well-deserved - he spotted a gap in the market and created a company that has fundamentally shifted the balance of power in adland, introducing greater accountability to how agencies spend their clients' media budgets.

While he will continue to be a force - and, therefore, a thorn in agencies' sides - for another couple of years, the industry will be a lesser place without him.

While the deal will enable Billett to see out his retirement in comfort, it is an odd one by Thomson Intermedia, a hitherto little-known media intelligence outfit. This acquisition propels the company on to a far bigger stage and should provide Billetts' clients a more rounded proposition that takes auditing to a new level.