The final buyout, costing WCRS £13.15 million, will be financed through an £8 million bank loan from the Bank of Ireland and £5.15 million 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 per cent 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.
- Comment, page 52.