'Business as Usual' for Smarts as Holding Company Becomes Employee-owned

It is 'business as usual' for the PR agency, Smarts (Scotland), following a management buy-out of its holding company yesterday.

Yesterday, Smarts' owners, Media Square, became an employee-owned company just hours before it was about to fall into administration.

Said a statement issued by the new owners, MSQ Partners Ltd: “The buy-out was completed within hours of administrators being appointed. Media Square had an unsustainable level of debt which dated back to a series of prior acquisitions, most notably the £63 million MSG acquisition in September 2005. The administration only covered the holding company and, the individual agencies, which operate within their own separate legal entities, continued to trade as normal.”

MSQ's chair is Roger Parry, former chair of Johnston Press, publisher of, among others, The Scotsman newspaper. He was chair of Media Square.

Former chief executive of Media Square and now chief executive of MSQ, Peter Reid, is quoted in the statement, as saying: “This is an extremely positive development for our staff, clients and suppliers. The deal provides a platform for the group to build on the significant progress made by its agencies at an operating level over the past two years, in particular. The debt burden of Media Square was holding back these businesses and as part of the transaction a much more appropriate and sustainable financial structure has been implemented within the group.”

Lesley Alexander, managing director of Smarts (Scotland), told allmediascotland.com: “It's business as usual. It's an exciting opportunity to work within an employee-owned company.”