M&C Saatchi has livened up its defence against a £253.6m takeover bid from Vin Murria’s AdvancedAdvT by reprising a piece of political advertising from its early history.
The cover image of the document it has issued to shareholders to explain why they should oppose the deal is nearly identical to its “Labour’s double whammy” billboard that helped the Conservatives win the 1992 General Election.
The words on the boxer’s gloves have been changed from More Taxes and Higher Prices to Low Price and High Risk, to summarise the group’s arguments against the AdvancedAdvT offer.
The document is going out ahead of August’s crunch vote, when shareholders will decide either to accept one of the two competing takeover bids from AdvancedAdvT and Next 15 or to reject both and keep the company independent.
The M&C Saatchi board initially recommended the Next 15 offer but subseqently withdrew its support due to a substantial fall in the value of Next 15 shares, which reduced the value of the offer from £310 million on 20 May to as low as £233.7 million on 20 June.
The defence document sums up the Next 15 offer as “strong fit”, “low price” and talks up the standalone future of the group.
Vin Murria and her investment vehice, Advanced AdvT, control more than 22% of M&C Saatchi’s shares but the agency group has consistently opposed her takeover move since she made an initial approach in January 2022.
All 18 members of M&C Saatchi's executive committee have opposed Murria's bid, the defence documents note.
The directors of M&C Saatchi, including Gareth Davis, the chairman, and Moray MacLennan, the chief executive, wrote in their defence document: “It is the M&C Saatchi directors’ belief that the terms of the ADV offer and ADV’s proposals represent both a low price and a high risk for M&C Saatchi shareholders and the company’s other stakeholder.
“The M&C Saatchi directors believe that the ADV offer fails to reflect the growth and opportunities in front of M&C Saatchi without offering a fair value for the business, and exchanges a plan which is already delivering for one that has increased risk, uncertainty and dilution for M&C Saatchi shareholders.”