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
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 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