Magic touch: M&C Saatchi seal Merlin tie-up in bid to rule world of sport and entertainment
09:58 GMT, 24 January 2013
10:15 GMT, 24 January 2013
The biggest players in sport will join up with some of the leading lights in showbusiness in a company aimed at ruling the world of entertainment.
M&C Saatchi UK Group, one of the world’s fastest growing global communications companies, has acquired leading talent management agency Merlin Elite.
It combines leading sportsmen, such as Amir Khan, with Merlin’s stable of clients, including Andrew Flintoff, Jamie and Louise Redknapp, pop star Jay Kay, TV personality and fashion model Jodie Kidd and radio presenter Jamie Theakston.
Deal: Amir Khan (right) is represented by M&C Saatchi
It is the first time a global advertising agency has bought a talent business and the ground-breaking enterprise sees M&C Saatchi acquire a majority 60 per cent of the talent business, with the new company, M&C Saatchi Merlin, becoming the first new organisation to be part of M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment Group.
To be based at M&C Saatchi’s headquarters in London, M&C Saatchi Merlin will act as a stand-alone business and will look to further grow its portfolio in sport, TV and entertainment, with a number of new names expected to join the line-up.
Represented: Andrew Flintoff
Since founding Merlin a decade ago,
chairman Richard Thompson has built an impressive roster of clients
within sport and entertainment and he commented: 'I am extremely excited to be joining the M&C Saatchi family. With the quality of people I have met, to the level of creativity and professionalism, I have no doubt this merger of talents will help create a new breed of Management Company – the first of its kind anywhere in the world.
'Talent management, both for sportspeople and entertainers, has fundamentally remained the same for the past thirty years. M&C Saatchi Merlin will have a creative approach to managing, nurturing and developing a career that will be unique. This acquisition demonstrates why M&C Saatchi have long been regarded as pioneers.'
Steve Martin added: 'This is not about selling Merlin’s talent portfolio back to our existing clients. We are joining forces with Merlin Elite to allow us to develop new revenue streams, build valuable intellectual property and harness some of the best talent in the country. It is a pioneering business model and the combination of creativity with strategic personal management will really freshen up a part of the industry that has been doing the same thing for a long time.'
The board of M&C Saatchi Merlin will consist of Richard Thompson, who will be chairman, Sian Connolly, Merlin Elite MD, Steve Martin, Lisa Thomas and Jamie Hewitt, M&C Saatchi Group FD.
Lisa Thomas, CEO M&C Saatchi (UK) Group, added: 'The combination of these two incredibly successful businesses will form a formidable powerhouse in our growth areas of Sports and Entertainment. M&C Saatchi Group has always done things differently and we are delighted to lead the way with this brutally simple, strategic acquisition.'