WCRS pays £13m to complete Havas buyout

LONDON - WCRS Group has renamed itself Engine in a restructure that also sees it buying Havas' remaining 24.9% share in the group.

The final buyout, costing WCRS £13.15m, will be financed through an £8m bank loan from the Bank of Ireland and £5.15m from its existing shareholders. The move readies WCRS for sale or its own IPO.

At the same time, the group is adding to its non-advertising business by buying two PR companies -- the corporate PR agency AS Biss, plus a 60% stake in the consumer-focused PR agency Slice.

Engine, comprising WCRS as well as the direct agency Personal and the communications planning arm Element, will be run by a restructured management team.

Peter Scott, WCRS's joint chairman, will head the group as its executive chairman. Stephen Woodford, Engine's chief executive, will report to him. Robin Wight, WCRS's joint chairman, will be the Engine chairman and also take on sole chairmanship responsibilities at WCRS.

Havas and Engine will still work together to service joint clients. Ed Eskandarian, a Havas board director and the chairman and chief executive of Arnold Worldwide Partners, will continue to sit on the Engine board.

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