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

The pullout move is due to the agency's poor performance in the local market

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. 

vyoung@nbr.co.nz

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