Property and PR add millions to Matthew Freud's business fortune

Matthew Freud's acquisition of his agency's offices last year has boosted his wealth as much as, if not more than, Freuds' own £6.4 million profits.

Matthew Freud: frequently cited as the most powerful PR operator in the UK
Matthew Freud: frequently cited as the most powerful PR operator in the UK

A new subsidiary of Freud Holdings, through which the PR supremo controls his business empire, paid £21.9 million for 55 Newman Street in 2012 with borrowings of £13.4 million.

The property was subsequently revalued at £30 million in the company’s 2012 accounts, published by Companies House today.

The £8.1 million rise was accompanied by £8.4 million in pre-tax profits (£6.4 million after tax) at Freuds, where clients include Mars, PepsiCo and Sky.

Freud bought back the agency, which he founded in 1985, from Publicis Groupe at the start of 2011.

The agency accounted for almost all of Freud Holdings’ 2012 activity, apart from a 50 per cent stake in event company OOTB Productions.

In 2012 Freud Holdings recorded a post-tax profit of £2.3 million, up from £1.7 million in 2011.

The money remained within the companies. Freud himself did not take a dividend from Freud Holdings and neither did Freuds pay out a dividend to its parent company.

However, the shareholders’ funds within the group (of which Freud is the sole shareholder) grew from £23.1 million to £33.7 million.

One measure did move downwards during the year – charitable donations, down from £49,083 in 2011 to £2,991 in 2012.

Despite the loss of accounts such as Carphone Warehouse’s consumer PR and Pizza Hut’s corporate work, the agency grew its turnover by 9 per cent to £37.9 million, which bears comparison with the PRWeek Top 150's average 11.5 per cent increase in fee income for 2012.

The agency's UK-based turnover dropped from £24.8 million to £23.1 million, but its US-based turnover ballooned from £2.2 million to £6.6 million.

Freuds declined to comment, while Matthew Freud was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

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