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Matthew Freud takes stake in M&C Saatchi after share price drop

LONDON - PR man Matthew Freud has acquired a 3.3% stake in M&C Saatchi at a cost of around £550,000, giving him a larger share of the company than any employee other than the four founders.

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Freud, who made around £14m from the 2005 sale of 50.1% of his PR agency Freud Communications to Publicis Groupe, informed M&C Saatchi on February 18 he had bought just over 2m shares.

He snapped up his shares as M&C Saatchi's share price hit a record low of 25p on February 11. Shares in the agency founded by Lord Saatchi have since risen 21%, closing at 30p last night.

Marketing services sector analyst Bob Willott points out in his blog for Brand Republic that Freud's stake is bigger than any of the company's employees excepting founders Lord Maurice Saatchi, Bill Muirhead, Jeremy Sinclair and David Kershaw, who each own 6.44%.

Freud Communications is currently working with M&C Saatchi on the government's Change4Life anti-obesity campaign.

Freud's investment in the marketing services group is in a personal capacity rather than through Freud Communications.

He is also an investor in household energy usage monitoring device Owl, and bought journalist trade weekly Press Gazette together with former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan in 2005. Press Gazette was put into administration in November 2006 before being saved by Wilmington Publishing and later relaunched as a monthly title.

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