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Charles Saatchi sells remaining stake in M&C Saatchi

LONDON - Charles Saatchi has ended his ties with the advertising world by selling off his remaining 7% stake in M&C Saatchi, the company he founded with brother Maurice.

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Saatchi had not been hands-on in running M&C Saatchi since resigning as a director in 2004, and is now better known for his art collection and marriage to TV chef Nigella Lawson.

M&C Saatchi said it had bought 700,000 of the shares at £1.12 a share. Saatchi is reported to have raised around £4m from the sale.

David Kershaw, chief executive of the agency, said: "Charles has had no direct involvement in the agency for several years now, and the sale of his share of the business reflects that."

Charles' brother, Lord Maurice Saatchi, remains with M&C as a director, but Charles' share sale brings to an end one of the advertising industry's most illustrious partnerships.

Charles Saatchi started his career in advertising as a copywriter with Collett Dickenson Pearce. In 1970, he teamed up with Maurice to launch Saatchi & Saatchi, which announced itself with a full-page ad in the Sunday Times.

The pair rose to fame in the wider public consciousness with their 1979 "Labour's not working" campaign, which is widely credited with helping propel the Conservatives into power.

Under their management, the agency produced iconic ad campaigns for British Rail, the launch of The Independent, and gave the country straplines like "Australians wouldn't give a XXXX for anything else".

M&C Saatchi was founded in the mid-1990s following a boardroom coup at Saatchi & Saatchi, when the brothers were ousted. It also made its mark on the global ad industry with iconic campaigns for British Airways -- an account that it lost at the end of 2005 to Bartle Bogle Hegarty. The agency floated in London in 2004.

The sale of Charles Saatchi's shares coincides with the opening of a new show of his collected artworks at the Royal Academy. The exhibition is called 'USA Today'.

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