Tag Archives: Misc

What fate awaits Karmarama?

The prospect of PR wizard and shrewd businessman Charles Watson bringing his experience and entrepreneurial flair to the Karmarama group of businesses brings an air of excitement that has been lacking in the sector for a few years.

It seems some time since anyone has been bold enough to embark on a “buy and build” strategy.  And it is certainly some time since such a venture was chaired by anyone so thoroughly well proven to lead the charge.

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What Adventis and Media Square have in common

It may not be apparent at first sight, but two companies that reported poor results last week have several things in common – losses and heavy bank debts being just two.

When you look more closely at Adventis Group and Media Square, what do you see?  Sadly in both cases, they comprise a hotchpotch of marketing businesses none of which really sets one alight with excitement at either its creative calibre or client quality.

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Rosetta: a triumph of weight over wisdom?

Two months ago the question was asked here: What’s Maurice Lévy’s game?   At that time his recent acquisition spree could have been interpreted as a desire to outperform world leader WPP before he collected his pension.   Or maybe he was simply pursuing what was the best strategy for growth by investing in digital and growth markets.   

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Publicis geographical revenue profile getting closer to Omnicom

The strategic benefit gained by Publicis from buying digital assets in the US and Europe is vividly displayed in the quarterly results published last week. 
Like most businesses, Publicis retains strong national ties with its French birthplace and past attempts to balance that domestic presence with an equally strong penetration of overseas markets have sometimes been frustrated, such as in the Foote Cone & Belding link-up that was aborted in 1996 and its seemingly unrewarding inherited alliance with Dentsu.

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When shares under option lose their value, change the rules to compensate!

 The latest device introduced by Asia Digital Holdings as part of its so-called “incentive” arrangements for directors begs some fairly serious questions about share options. 

Asia Digital originally granted options over, in aggregate, 20.4 million shares to three of its directors at an exercise price of 1.125p per share.  The purpose was doubtless to ensure the participants could benefit from any growth in the value of the company’s share price until the day comes when they choose to exercise the options and sell their shares.   That’s perfectly normal and, if such a scheme gains approval from HM Revenue & Customs, the gain would normally be taxed as capital and avoid the more punitive income tax rates. 

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Actions speak louder than words

A study of last week’s financial announcements in the sector brought home how little some companies have learned about self-promotion. 

   

The more experienced operators like Chime and Cello made measured announcements about acquisitions.  Chime made no audacious claims about buying Maidstone Road Holdings (parent of the Icon group that provides marketing support for sports sponsors and the like).  The most positive statements included phrases like “the acquisition…significantly increases Chime’s sports marketing business in the football arena” and “Chime sees significant growth opportunities for Icon resulting from the Olympic Games in London in 2012 and in Rio in 2016”.  Or as Lord Bell – someone who is not unaware of the power of publicity – put it calmly: “Icon is an attractive business at an attractive price.” 

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Langdon has lessons for us all

The sudden departure of Ben Langdon as chief executive of AIM listed Digital Marketing Group ends another chapter in the colourful career of this ambitious entrepreneur. 

An Oxford graduate now aged 48, his CV reads impressively:  

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What accounting rules and pigs have in common

More often than not, this column has been at pains to point out how companies have perhaps been a little liberal in their interpretation of accounting rules or at least have taken steps to put the best possible gloss on their performance.  So it may come as a surprise to find that today’s offering takes the form of a rant about some of the recent acts of lunacy perpetrated by the rule-makers. 

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What’s Maurice Lévy’s game?

Is Maurice Lévy chasing every possible acquisition in the hope that he can outgrow WPP and Omnicom before he retires?   

In the last few weeks Publicis Groupe has acquired businesses in the UK, France, Taiwan and India.   None of them is large, but all are engaged in growth territories and/or disciplines.   Watermelon Healthcare Communications and Healthcare Consulting are engaged obviously in the healthcare sector, Airlock, Holler Digital and Interactive Communications are primarily in social media and other digital, while Kitcatt Nohr and Chemistry are involved in digitally engaged direct marketing. 

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