Ad agency Publicis Mojo liquidated

WILLIAM MACE
Last updated 11:15 21/12/2012

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Auckland advertising agency Publicis Mojo has been put into liquidation by its major international shareholder Publicis Groupe.

The agency was behind campaigns for Speights Summit, Steinlager Pure and Hallensteins but its output for major clients has slowed recently and its financial accounts for the 2010 year showed liabilities outweighing assets by over $9 million.

Despite the financial state of the company and a revenue slump across the advertising industry, a senior industry source said the arrival of liquidators at the company's Parnell offices yesterday came as a surprise to the agency's employees.

Publicis Mojo is owned by New Zealand registered Publicis Communications Limited, which is 65 per cent owned by France-based Publicis Groupe – one of four major global holding companies. Publicis Groupe is also the ultimate owner of Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand.

The minority shareholders in Publicis Communications include former director and Australasian chief executive Graeme Wills, current managing director Kay Boyle and current executive creative director Lachlan McPherson.

Companies Office records show those minority shareholdings were entered into almost exactly a year ago after Publicis Groupe sold down its stake.

However it seems the injection of local ownership has not saved the agency from being wound up.

McPherson took over the top creative job after Mike Barnwell resigned in March having presided over the loss of major accounts with Lion Breweries' Steinlager Pure and Speights brands.

In 2010 its $15.3m in total liabilities included $12.2m in payables to related parties, including management fees and loan interest to its French parent company.

Managing director Boyle and liquidator, Kevin Bromwich of Mcdonald Vague, had not yet responded to a request for comment so it was unclear what future the agency and its clients may face.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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