A press statement from the group stated that Media Square had an ‘unsustainable’ level of debt, which dated back to a series of prior acquisitions, most notably the £63m MSG acquisition in September 2005. The new owners would have ‘a much stronger financial structure, with debt reduced to less than half of the level previously borne by Media Square’.
The group’s strategy will continue to focus on growing its core agency brands, which span the disciplines of advertising, marketing, PR, digital, research and design.
At the same time, the group will give an increased focus to developing a multi-disciplinary proposition for clients, particularly emerging UK brands, looking for this service.
The individual agencies, including Smarts, will continue to trade as normal and there have been no job losses.
Peter Reid, founder of MSQ Partners, said: ‘The deal provides a platform for the group to build on the significant progress made by its agencies at an operating level during the past two years, in particular.
‘The debt burden of Media Square was holding back these businesses and as part of the transaction a much more appropriate and sustainable financial structure has been implemented within the group.’
‘An employee-owned structure, where the employees take the majority control and can share in the future success of the business, is one that we believe will see our agencies realise their full potential.’
The agencies that make up MSQ Partners will employ more than 650 staff and have annual revenues of approximately £45m. It will have operations in UK, US, Hong Kong, China and Singapore, and will be headquartered in London.