Freud locked in talks with Publicis over buying back control

Matthew Freud is locked in talks with Publicis over buying back control of his agency.

In talks: Matthew Freud
In talks: Matthew Freud

Publicis and Freud have held talks on separating, but there is significant disagreement over the value of the agency.
Freud sold a 50.1% stake of Freud Communications to Publicis five years ago. The FT suggested that he had become frustrated by the confines of working within the Publicis Group structure and that the deal had not triggered the level of international expansion for which Freud had hoped.
The agency declined to comment on the story this morning, but an insider said: 'It is fair to say that conversations about the future relationship of Freud and Publicis have taken place.'

A former colleague of Freud's said: 'Matthew doesn't need to be a part of a group, because their business doesn't come through the group, it comes organically. It would not surprise me if he buys it back in the next few months because Matthew will emotionally prefer it being his own agency and Maurice [Levy] will know he won't be able to replicate the business in other markets.'
Freud has a history of buying and selling his agency, having bought the agency back from Omnicom in 2001. Freud Communications was acquired by Abbott Mead Vickers in 1994, an independent UK advertising agency that was later itself bought by Omnicom.
Freud Communications topped the PRWeek league table of consumer agencies for 2010, with fee income of £22.5m in 2009 and 185 staff.
Earlier this year PRWeek named Freud as the most powerful figure working in the UK PR industry.

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