M&C Saatchi investigates global alliances

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SYDNEY -- M&C Saatchi is actively investigating global alliances, according to Bill Muirhead, one of the five founding partners of the agency -- but it will be a "cautious great leap forward" not the route followed by Mr. Muirhead's previous agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, involving a spate of acquisitions and a public listing.

"We don't just want to put dots on the map for the sake of it," he said in Sydney last week. "That's why we formed an alliance with Publicis [to service M&C clients British Airways and Qantas in Europe], which is working very well for us...I can see no reason why there should not be more of those sorts of arrangements.

"The trouble is our image," he added. "Because of the old company, people think we're going around with suitcases full of money. They don't quite trust us and they don't understand that in this new company, it is an equal partnership between five people."

Mr. Muirhead said M&C Saatchi now had worldwide billings of $1.1 billion. "One of the nicest things that has happened to me since this company started is that two months ago we wrote out a check to the bank which paid back the start-up costs. So we are completely debt-free. Every office we have is profitable."

Copyright December 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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