Publicis buys 50% stake in Freud

LONDON - French marcoms company Publicis Groupe has brought a 50.1% stake in the UK's most celebrated PR consultancy, Freud Communications.

The deal, which is understood to be worth around £35m, will add Freuds to Publicis's existing lesser-known PR agencies Manning Selvage and Lee and Publicis Consultants.

It will allow Freuds access to Publicis' global network of clients within its advertising and PR businesses.

Sources close to the company said the talks between the parties had been ongoing for the past six or seven months.

Freuds, which has hitherto been Britain's largest independent consumer agency, is expected to report Ebitda of £4.6m for the year to the end of June 2005. It employs 103 staff in the UK and a further three in New York.

It is understood that eponymous founder Matthew Freud retains around two-thirds of the remaining 49.9% of the company with a several other senior executives sharing the remainder.

Freuds brought itself out from advertising agency Abbott Mead Vickers in June 2001 after the latter was acquired by Omnicom two years prior to that.

Last year, Nestle became Freuds' biggest client. Others include Pepsico, AOL, Jack Daniel's and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

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