M&C strikes deal with Fifteen in rebuff to biggest investor

The independent directors of M&C Saatchi (SAAD) have agreed a deal to sell the British advertising company to consultancy Next Fifteen Communications (NXFNF), saying it offered a superior outcome to a bid from its biggest shareholder.

M&C, one of the biggest names in British advertising, has been fighting off an offer from Vin Murria and rejected a deal worth 254 million pounds ($317 million) this week.

It said on Friday the deal with Fifteen was worth 310 million pounds.

In a joint statement, the two companies said the deal would help establish a much stronger competitor in digital marketing and consulting, bringing together blue-chip clients and an array of services and providing more firepower to invest.

M&C said its senior staff fully backed the deal. Murria's AdvancedadvT investment vehicle said it was considering its options and noted that it owned 22.3% of M&C's stock.

"M&C Saatchi is synonymous with creativity and strategy, whereas Next Fifteen has built a reputation around its technology and data driven offering," said Tim Dyson, CEO of Next Fifteen. "This makes for a great combination."

($1 = 0.8010 pounds)

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