Adbrands Weekly Update 4th May 2017: Chinese PR group BlueFocus has pulled out of struggling UK counterpart Huntsworth, selling the bulk of its 20% shareholding for a loss, and placing the remaining shares up for sale at a later date.
Adbrands Weekly Update 16th April 2015:
There was little sign of a magic bullet yet at British PR group Huntsworth, owners of PR networks Grayling, Citigate and Red. Another disappointing year saw further erosion of revenues to £165m, as well as a £56m net loss.
improvements that had been forecast mid-year failed
to materialise, resulting in a £75m impairment charge, mainly against lead network Grayling. Revenues at all three PR networks declined year-on-year, with only specialist arm Huntsworth Health reporting an increase. New CEO Paul Taafe has only just arrived at the group this month to take over from
departed founder CEO Lord Chadlington. He has a challenge on his hands. Otherwise, the group faces the likelihood of being broken up between two of its biggest shareholders, Chinese PR group BlueFocus, and US
investor Lake Capital, which also owns WCRS marketing services group Engine.
Adbrands Weekly Update
29th Dec 2014:
Marketing services group Huntsworth, which owns the Grayling and
Citigate PR networks, has finally named Paul Taaffe, former chairman of Hill
& Knowlton and communications chief of Groupon, to become CEO after a prolonged search. He succeeds founder
Lord Chadlington, who had announced his intention to retire as soon as a new
leader could be appointed. The
group will also recruit a new CFO to succeed Sally Withey who has been on
medical leave for much of this year.
Adbrands Weekly Update 14th Aug 2014:
Lord Chadlington, the former Peter Gummer, announced plans to retire as chief executive of UK-based PR group Huntsworth as soon as a successor can be appointed. Current COO Sally Withey is absent on sick leave, but is expected to return in the autumn. Chadlington, 72 this year,
launched Huntsworth in 2001, having sold his previous business, the PR giant Shandwick, to Interpublic five years earlier. The new group controls the Grayling and Citigate brands among others, but has encountered tough trading this year. First half revenues declined 2% to £83m, and pretax profits
plunged by 27%. Chinese PR group BlueFocus acquired a 20% holding in the business last year, and US private equity group Lake Capital is also a significant shareholder. That group is currently acquiring full control of another UK marketing group, Engine Group.
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