M:Communications to close its doors 'within weeks'

LONDON: M:Communications, once one of London's top PR firms with revenues of £14 million, is set to wind down its operations "within weeks."

LONDON: M:Communications, once one of London's top PR firms with revenues of £14 million, is set to wind down its operations “within weeks.”

The financial communications agency, established in 2002 by former Financial Dynamics (now FTI Consulting) bosses Nick Miles and Hugh Morrison, is ending its run after the resignation of a number of senior figures in March.

Miles and Morrison were among the seven senior staffers to walk out of the agency amid dissatisfaction with the value of equity incentives.

At the time, M:'s private equity owners, King Worldwide, insisted there remained a “clear strategy to take the business forward.”

However, M: COO Charles Blount told PRWeek UK that the agency is in the final stages of an
“orderly wind-up” process.

“The business will wind down over the next few weeks,” he said. “We have been in close contact with clients throughout to ensure this causes the minimum impact. Everyone is being looked after in a reasonable way.”

The M: website was taken down late last week, but Blount said the agency would not officially close for a “number of weeks” until the last clients and staffers migrate to the new business.

Blount added that all agency staffers will be paid in full and the vast majority have secured new roles.

These include two senior team members who had remained with M: until last month, Andrew Benbow and Ann-marie Wilkinson, who have taken senior in-house roles at Genel Energy and IGas Energy, respectively.

A number of other businesses have spun out of M: within the past month with members of the energy team forming Vigo Communicationsits Russian practice launching EM, and the agency's former healthcare division spinning out into Consilium Strategic Communications.

It is also understood that the Middle East business and its crisis specialist Keyhaven have spun out into separate entities since the March departures.

Many of M:'s former clients have migrated to these start-ups, while a number of others have since moved to M:'s former rivals.

Mining company ENRC last week shifted to Capital MSL, while luxury goods group LVMH also moved to Capital MSL earlier in the year. Other high-profile client moves include Ocado moving to Tulchan Communications and Cineworld Group shifting to Pelham Bell Pottinger.

M: was one of the key players in London PR throughout the 2000s looking to break the stranglehold of the three traditional financial PR powerhouses: Brunswick, Finsbury (now RLM Finsbury), and Financial Dynamics.

M: grew its fee income to £13.8 million in 2008 before the financial downturn fully hit and beat a host of top London names to secure the prestigious financial PR account for Lloyds Banking Group in early 2009.

Sage Communications, since renamed King Worldwide, bought M: in 2008 alongside proxy solicitation firm DF King & Co for a total sum of £90 million.

This story originally appeared on the website of PRWeek UK.

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