M&C Saatchi reveals probe into the company over scandal is dropped

Advertising agency M&C Saatchi reveals the financial watchdog has dropped a probe into the company over £11.6million accounting scandal

  • The UK’s financial watchdog has dropped inquiry into ad agency M&C Saatchi
  • M&C revealed accounting error that saw its market value collapse in 2019
  • Scandal sparked a shareholder revolt which saw co-founder Lord Saatchi quit
  • Advertising agency found fame working for the Tories during the 1990s 

The UK’s financial watchdog has dropped its inquiry into advertising agency M&C Saatchi launched over an accounting scandal.

M&C, which found fame working for the Tory Party during the 1990s, admitted in 2019 that ‘adjustments’ needed to its books totalled £11.6million – almost double a previous estimate of £6.4million. 

The firm’s market value collapsed from £4 to 103p per share, and a revolt saw co-founder Lord Saatchi, his brother Charles, Lord Dobbs, Sir Michael Peat and Lorna Tilbian all subsequently quit the board. 

The UK’s financial watchdog has dropped its inquiry into advertising agency M&C Saatchi launched over an accounting scandal (stock image)

The scandal sparked a shareholder revolt which saw co-founder Lord Saatchi (pictured) and his brother Charles, Lord Dobbs, Sir Michael Peat and Lorna Tilbian all quit the board 

The scandal also led to the launch of an investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority in January 2020. 

M&C is famous for the Conservative Party’s controversial New Labour, New Danger campaign for the 1997 election that Tony Blair went on to win.

Much more successful was the firm’s 1979 Tory campaign for Margaret Thatcher, Labour Isn’t Working.

In a statement, M&C Saatchi said: ‘The company is pleased to report that the Financial Conduct Authority has notified the company that its investigation of the company, first announced in January 2020, is being closed and that no enforcement action will be taken against the company by it.’ 

M&C is famous for the Tory Party’s controversial New Labour, New Danger campaign for the 1997 election that Tony Blair went on to win

Much more successful was the firm’s 1979 Conservative campaign for Margaret Thatcher, Labour Isn’t Working

Bosses added they had a strong end to the year and expect pre-tax profits to be ‘materially ahead’ of previous expectations.

Dividends will return as a result and the start of 2022 has seen ‘major client wins’, it added. 

An FCA spokesperson said: ‘Having completed the investigation and considered all of the information available in this case we have determined there is insufficient basis for the FCA to take action against M&C Saatchi.’ 

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