LONDON: A hostile takeover bid for the Lopex group and aggressive US expansion plans look set to vault Incepta close to the top of the global agency rankings.
London-based Incepta, which is best known as the owner of the Citigate and Dewe Rogerson agency networks, has offered the equivalent of dollars 98 million in new shares for Lopex, itself a holding company for UK-based PR firms such as Grayling and lobbying group Westminster Strategy.
Incepta CEO David Wright said he had hoped to come to an amicable agreement with the directors of Lopex.
He wanted them to recommend the takeover to their shareholders. But, he told PRWeek, 'They won't even see us, so we're just going to go after the shares.
'We are a top-five player, but this deal would be perfect for both companies in creating a real global powerhouse - the two companies are a great fit,' he continued. 'It would be good for the Lopex staff because many of them would get more responsibility, and good for the business, which has great brands but needs investment. The only reason I can think of why they haven't agreed to the deal is that Peter Thomas (CEO of Lopex) is worrying about his own job.'
Thomas hasn't commented on the bid, but sources suggested he would rather do business with one of the other PR holding companies. The stock prices of both groups have rocketed since news of the deal became public, however, suggesting that the financial community views the two companies as a good match.
Incepta already owns 29.9% of Lopex, and claimed last week that it had received letters of 'intent to accept' from another 8.7% of shareholders.
It boasts annual revenues of more than dollars 182 million, half of which is derived from PR.
In 1998, Lopex recorded total revenues of dollars 206.4 million, the vast majority of which comes from its PR agencies.
Wright added that the expansion of Incepta is far from over: 'I see our greatest market opportunities in the US.'