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Departing M&C Saatchi won’t rule out return to New Zealand

Despite revelations it will exit this market in July, M&C Saatchi is not ruling out a return. 

Yesterday the ad agency confirmed it will pull out of New Zealand following a takeover in July.

A spokesman for the company told NBR ONLINE the company was in discussions to transfer the business to local management.

Local joint chief executives Tony Burt and Dave King already own a small stake in the company. 

For now, it would be business as usual and it is premature to discuss who will head up the new agency, the spokesman says.

He says the expectation is that clients will move across to the new agency. Its key clients are Rabobank, NZ Police and NZ Fire Service.

M&C Saatchi says the decision comes because of New Zealand’s arm's poor performance. The agency lost Warehouse Stationery last year which spends about $20 million a year on advertising, according to ratecard figures.

Its financial statements revealed it made a loss of $1.4 million, and was in a negative equity of $1.6 million. Most of the debt stems from loans from its global parent.

A spokesman said the New Zealand outpost just wasn’t achieving its targets.

“If an opportunity arises in the future to re-enter, it will be reconsidered for sure.”

Messrs King and Burt did not respond to NBR ONLINE's request for comment regarding the ownership change. 

The M&C Saatchi network was formed in the mid-1990s by the brothers Maurice Saatchi and Charles Saatchi after they were ousted from Saatchi & Saatchi, which they also founded.

It has had a local presence since 1995. Its founding client in this market was Tourism New Zealand.

More by Victoria Young

Comments and questions

Get real

Had its lunch eaten by boutiques without the huge overheads. Young nimble + smarts

Also all big clients now owned out of Aust or Japan

Anyone asked Kev for a comment?

What the hell is the parent company doing loading up on loans from the NZ arm. This is like foreign parent co defaulting on all the local creditors like publicis mojo when they know the ships going down.

It hasn't worked. Respect to Dave as a brilliant direct marketing ECD, but time to close and move on lads.

Neither big nor small, not indie or empire, and with no real point of difference. Dave and Tony are good, smart guys, but there's no strong reason other than that to do business with them. Not sure the brand helps much either.