Osprey group buys Covey in attempt to strengthen network

Covey Advertising, the Edinburgh agency once thought to be a possible merger partner for McCann-Erickson’s troubled Scottish operation, has been bought by Jack Rubins’ Osprey group.

Covey Advertising, the Edinburgh agency once thought to be a

possible merger partner for McCann-Erickson’s troubled Scottish

operation, has been bought by Jack Rubins’ Osprey group.



Osprey will pay a maximum of pounds 1.2 million to Covey’s directors if

performance targets are met. The merged agency will be called Osprey

Scotland.



The deal comes amid a flurry of merger speculation in Scotland, most of

it sparked by McCanns, which is on the verge of taking over the Leith

Agency (Campaign, 3 October).



Osprey had been planning to establish a Scottish bridgehead as the next

step in the development of a regional network, which includes

subsidiaries in Hampshire and Belfast. Further acquisitions in

Manchester and Birmingham are planned.



Covey claims billings of about pounds 6 million and a client list led by

the housebuilder, Cala Homes, and Calor Gas, which it handles north of

the border.



The agency’s fortunes have flagged in recent times as it struggled to

bring its overheads under control. In the run-up to the deal it cut its

staff by almost half and now employs less than 20 people.



However, Rubins, Osprey’s chairman, said: ’Covey has a bunch of highly

professional and talented people. If you buy lots of assets and

buildings you can go wrong. With talent you can’t lose.’



He added: ’We recognise the commercial implications of the political

changes that are now taking place in Scotland and the importance of

having a local presence, as opposed to just a London one. We won’t be

able to send lots of business Covey’s way but we will be useful to each

other.’



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