NEWS: The Leith poised to move in on England with Cheetham bid

The Leith Agency is set to expand out of Scotland, and is in advanced talks with the Manchester hotshop, Cheetham Bell.

The Leith Agency is set to expand out of Scotland, and is in advanced

talks with the Manchester hotshop, Cheetham Bell.



The Scottish agency has had a good year creatively, winning awards for

its Irn-Bru work, but has recently lost pounds 5 million worth of

business, as Warburtons Bakery consolidated into Ogilvy and Mather, and

the tyre retailer, ATS, walked out of the door.



The loss of income focused the Leith Agency’s plans for growth. It has

expanded as far as it can in Scotland, and has become frustrated at the

way accounts move around north of the border, with statutory reviews

meaning that most agencies take turns with the big accounts.



John Denholm, the agency’s managing director, is understood to want a

base from which to tap into the much larger pool of potential clients in

England, and believes his agency’s reputation would attract new clients.



David Bell, the managing director of Cheetham Bell, confirmed that a

decision was imminent. He said: ‘We are a smaller version of the Leith.

We have the same creative reputations, and the fact that it has singled

us out confirms our belief in our work.’



Cheetham Bell already handles some Scottish work, and lists Pringle

knitwear and the Scottish Sports Council among its clients.



The negotiations, which insiders say have been open, are focused on a

takeover rather than a merger. The Leith Agency guards its reputation

jealously, and previous plans for expansion into Bristol foundered when

the agency refused to share its name.



Bell added: ‘It is now down to whether the Leith puts the right offer on

the table.’