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
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
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