New owners for media agency Robson Brown

OVER six months of talks came to a conclusion for Alan Brown and Stuart Robson with the successful sale of their Newcastle advertising and marketing agency to a US company with the help of law firm Muckle.

From left: David Wilkinson, Alan Brown, Hugh Welch, Craig Swinhoe and Stuart Robson

OVER six months of talks came to a conclusion for Alan Brown and Stuart Robson with the successful sale of their Newcastle advertising and marketing agency to a US company with the help of law firm Muckle.

The duo, who launched what was to become the region’s biggest media agency 26 years ago, were first approached by California-based Round2 International last summer.

The sale was concluded last week, as revealed in The Journal, with Newcastle-based corporate lawyers and corporate finance experts advising Mr Brown and Mr Robson.

Hugh Welch, senior partner at Muckle said: “We have acted on behalf of Robson Brown for over 25 years, building up a great relationship with the firm and offering legal advice in a range of areas, from property and employment to contract and commercial law.

“This has very much grown into a mutual relationship as Robson Brown has provided us with support on our branding, advertising and company literature.

“I am delighted that we have been able to offer legal support to Robson Brown during such a critical stage of its evolution and I’d like to wish the firm every success moving forward.”

Craig Swinhoe, partner in the commercial services group at Muckle, added: “I am pleased to have worked so closely with Robson Brown on this deal – providing legal advice and helping to negotiate on all aspects of the agreement with Round2. We advised from a legal perspective and have worked closely with Deloitte on the deal.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Robson Brown as it will become the first and largest UK base for Round2, taking the Newcastle-based marketing agency into the next exciting phase of its continued development.”

Corporate finance advice was provided to the vendors by David Wilkinson from accountants and business advisors Deloitte.

Robson Brown chairman, Mr Robson, said “Doing this deal has been an emotional rollercoaster. It’s almost like selling your own baby. But after 26 years you think there are other things you want to do in life.

“We didn’t put it up for sale. They approached us and we heard their ambitions to grow the business from here and keep the brand, particularly against the backdrop of this economic climate, we thought the time is right and this seems too good to be true.”

“We are both very close to the business. You cut me in half and I am Robson Brown through and through. We just wanted to see the business grow and grow and I believe this will be a good way to do it.”

The new owners of Robson Brown say they will use the North East as a platform for growth across the UK – and eventually the globe.

Garfield Ricketts, chairman of Los Angeles-based Round 2 International said he is close to finalising a deal for a London agency, with a third to follow over the next few months.

He said: “We are currently reviewing our masterplan in the light of events, but Robson Brown in Newcastle will continue to be the core and from here we will look to create a global footprint, we will be looking to the next level and this could include a move into Asia.”

Robson Brown saw annual sales of £37m over the last year and the acquisitions it makes as Round2 International will take annual revenues to £60m.

 
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