The directors of Freud Communications have completed a management
buy-out of the firm, as predicted by PRWeek last February (PRWeek, 16
The deal is believed to be worth pounds 10m, and would match the sum
paid out by AMV when they bought the agency from founder Matthew Freud
Freud and CEO Nick Wiszowaty led the buy-out, along with fellow
directors including directors Gaby Zein, Oliver Wheeler, Patrick Keegan,
Rebecca Hirst, Clare Chilcott, Paul Melody, Andrew Nightingale and Kate
Lee, and newly-appointed MD Kris Thykier.
Freud takes a 51 per cent controlling share in the business that bears
his name, while the other 11 directors take on undisclosed stakes in the
The Top 20 agency achieved fee income of almost pounds 7.5m last year, a
rise of 12 per cent on the 1999 figure. A spokesperson for AMV declined
to comment on reasons for the sale.
Since its original purchase of the agency seven years ago, AMV has
itself been bought by NYSE-listed conglomerate Omnicom.
Given Freud Communications' notoriously independent-minded approach, it
has been rumoured that the directors' efforts to negotiate an MBO are
motivated by added bureaucracy from the new owners. Sources at both
Freud and AMV both described the parting as 'very amicable.'