McCann poised to take over the Leith

The Leith Agency in Edinburgh is on the verge of a merger with the McCann-Erickson network, which will result in a big financial windfall for its directors.

The Leith Agency in Edinburgh is on the verge of a merger with the

McCann-Erickson network, which will result in a big financial windfall

for its directors.



McCanns wants to boost its flagging presence north of the border by

combining the highly creative Leith with its own Scottish operation,

which has been plagued by account losses and an undistinguished

new-business record.



McCanns sources say confidential documents are being exchanged between

the parties and a deal could be completed within a month.



Brian Child, the chief executive of McCanns in Manchester - who has

overall responsibility for the group’s Scottish operations - would not

comment on a possible deal. But he admitted: ’We have been in

discussions with a number of agencies and it’s well known that the Leith

is one of them.’



John Rowley, the Leith’s managing director, said: ’McCanns has been in

contact with us and we have told it to put its proposals in writing. But

any talk of a deal is highly premature.’



The deal is understood to involve McCanns taking the 45 per cent stake

in the Leith, which is held by the venture capitalist, 3i.



Although the top jobs at the merged agency have yet to be allocated,

insiders say senior Leith managers, including the agency’s chairman,

John Denholm, are likely to run the outfit and some redundancies at

McCanns will result.



McCanns has been looking urgently for a merger partner since its

Edinburgh office lost one of its most important pieces of business, the

pounds 2 million Theakston beer account, after Scottish & Newcastle’s

takeover by Courage.



It was earlier rumoured to have been in talks with Faulds

Advertising.



Child said: ’Scotland is a developing market and will become

increasingly important as the country becomes more autonomous. It’s

imperative that we have a strong, indigenous Scottish presence.’



For the Leith, whose most high-profile accounts are Irn-Bru and

Tennent’s lager, the deal would give access to McCanns’ international

network.



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