Havas and Work Club deal in closing stages

Brooks: will continue to run Work Club as the chief executive under an earn-out arrangement
Brooks: will continue to run Work Club as the chief executive under an earn-out arrangement

Havas is in the final stages of buying the independent digital agency Work Club.

The parties have agreed terms and are scrutinising the last details of the deal, which is expected to close in the next six weeks, sources said.

Under the present terms of the deal, Work Club’s management, including the chief executive, Martin Brooks, will continue to run the agency under an earn-out, reporting to the Havas Worldwide London chief executive, Russ Lidstone.

The shop will not be integrated with Havas Worldwide London and will keep its separate offices and name – although it is likely the Havas brand will be incorporated in some way.

Following its sale, Work Club will initially focus on increasing its profile in the UK and then look to leverage Havas World­wide’s network to expand internationally.

To assess the suitability of a deal, Work Club partnered with Havas Worldwide London on a pitch for the Birds Eye owner Iglo’s European ad account, going on to win the business in 2013. In the same month, Campaign revealed the pair were in talks.

The latest news of the impending deal follows last week’s sale of Lean Mean Fighting Machine to M&C Saatchi Group for more than £6 million. The digital agency will be integrated into M&C Saatchi as part of that deal.

No-one at Havas Worldwide London or Work Club would comment.

Havas this week reported revenues of €389 million (£319 million) for the first quarter of 2014 – a year-on-year organic rise of 3 per cent. UK revenues increased by 11.7 per cent to €52 million.

Meanwhile, Publicis Groupe reported year-on-year organic revenue growth of 3.3 per cent in the first quarter, while Omnicom’s revenue rose 4.3 per cent organically in the same period. WPP reported like-for-like revenue growth of 7 per cent.

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