Shares in troubled M&C Saatchi rise amid speculation about future

Agency group is talking to City advisors but has not started formal process.

Kershaw: said in September that he and his co-founders are not considering sale
Kershaw: said in September that he and his co-founders are not considering sale

Shares in M&C Saatchi rose after reports that the troubled ad agency group is considering its options as it grapples with an investigation into accounting irregularities.

M&C Saatchi is talking to Clarity, a boutique advisory firm and long-term advisor to the group, according to a report in The Sunday Telegraph.

The company's share price rose as much as 6% to 180p on the speculation, giving it a valuation of about £165m.

However, Campaign understands that M&C Saatchi has not appointed advisors to conduct a formal process and it is not considering a sale at this time.

A spokesman for M&C Saatchi declined to comment.

If the company were planning a sale, it would be obliged to issue a statement under stock market rules.

M&C Saatchi is under pressure as the share price has halved from 339p since the problems first emerged in August when the group warned that it would have to make accounting "adjustments" and take a £6.5m charge.

The company disclosed in its half-year results in September that the "adjustments are restricted to four UK trading entities and the UK shared services company", but gave no further details because it said PwC, the auditing group, was still examining the accounts.

The result of that investigation is expected later this month.

One source claimed to Campaign that some of the problems involve Lida. M&C Saatchi offered no comment.

David Kershaw, chief executive of M&C Saatchi, said in September that he and his co-founders "have not considered the idea" of putting the business up for sale.

"We are totally focused and the fundamentals of the business are still very good, but we have a big job to do in terms of the corporate brand and that’s the focus for the next 12 months."

Clarity previously advised M&C Saatchi on its sale of Walker Media, now known as Blue 449.

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