“Matthew wants to be master of his own destiny again,” my insider says. I’m told the UK uber-flack feels let down by promises made by Publicis Groupe, the world’s 3rd largest advertising and PR group, when he sold 50.1% of Freud Communications to the giant 5 years ago. He thought that Publicis would invest in his company and expand its global reach. Instead, Freud Communications has been the only cog in Publicis’s PR wheelhouse to increase its turnover, one of my insiders claims. Ongoing negotiations between Freud and Publicis have now stalled over price. For Freud to buy back his firm won’t be cheap: it’s the most influential publicity company in the UK, helped by Freud’s own marriage to Rupert Murdoch’s TV tycoon daughter Elizabeth, and has some big global brands on its books such as clients Nike and Pepsi. And last year, Freud Communications’ revenue increased 23% to £33 million with fee income of £23 million. This could mean a sales tag of around £20-32 million, given that media companies are currently selling for around 5-8 times their underlying earnings. This is not the first time that Freud has sought to buy back his own PR firm. He bought Freud Communications back from media giant Omnicom in 2001.
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