Huntsworth dumps its non-PR holdings as Nichols steps down

LONDON: Huntsworth, the UK-based holding company that merged with Incepta last spring, has sold off all its non-PR holdings in a move designed to refocus the company and bolster its financial position moving forward.

LONDON: Huntsworth, the UK-based holding company that merged with Incepta last spring, has sold off all its non-PR holdings in a move designed to refocus the company and bolster its financial position moving forward.

The company also announced that Richard Nichols, who had been CEO of Incepta since 2001 and has been serving as CEO of the combined company since the merger, will be stepping down this month. Lord Chadlington, executive chairman of the group, will take his place.

In all, Huntsworth's sale encompassed 16 marketing services and advertising firms. Media Square, a UK marketing services holding company, paid about $111 million for the package of agencies.

The sale came at the conclusion of a strategic review that Huntsworth had undertaken after the merger was announced. At the time, the company said its goal was to "ensure the group delivers a focused range of services."

Patrick Toyne Sewell, a director at Citigate Dewe Rogerson and Huntsworth spokesman, said the sale was in line with the company's long-term strategy. "At the time of the merger, the company said that the new group would have public relations at its core," he said. "About 60% to 70% of its revenue [was] from PR. If that's what was going to be the core, there was always going to be an issue about the marketing services side."

Sewell said that Nichols has no immediate plans to move to another position when he ends his term as a consultant to the board at the end of the year.

Huntsworth's US agencies include Citigate Sard Verbinnen and Global Consulting Group.

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