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LONDON (Reuters) -British advertising group M&C Saatchi has agreed a takeover by consultancy Next Fifteen Communications, which it said on Friday represented a better offer than one made by its biggest shareholder.
M&C, founded in 1995 by brothers Maurice and Charles Saatchi, has been recovering from a 2019 accounting scandal but last month reported a record annual profit helped by client wins and deepened relationships with the likes of Alphabet's Google, Uber and TikTok.
It has been fighting a takeover attempt by its largest shareholder Vin Murria and this week rejected a deal worth 254 million pounds.
The Next Fifteen offer was worth 310 million pounds ($387 million), valuing its shares at 247.2 pence apiece, M&C said on Friday, adding that its senior staff fully backed the deal.
M&C and Next Fifteen said in a joint statement that their deal would help establish a much stronger competitor in digital marketing and consulting, bringing together blue-chip clients and an array of services and providing more firepower to invest.
"M&C Saatchi is synonymous with creativity and strategy, whereas Next Fifteen has built a reputation around its technology and data driven offering," said Tim Dyson, CEO of Next Fifteen. "This makes for a great combination."
Shares in M&C soared by as much as 38%, to levels not seen since 2019, but remained below the offer price.
The stock was trading at 221 pence by 0812 GMT, giving it a market value of around 270 million pounds. At their peak in 2018, M&C shares were worth 430 pence apiece.
Murria's AdvancedadvT investment vehicle said it was considering its options, noting it owned 22.3% of M&C's stock.
($1 = 0.8011 pounds)
(Reporting by Kate Holton, additional reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by William James, Jason Neely and Alexander Smith)