Aegis company jets up for sale

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AEGIS GROUP, the media buyer, is putting up for sale its two luxury corporate jets following the sudden resignation of Peter Scott as chairman and chief executive last month.

The eight-seater Cessna jets were recently offered in the US and Europe at an asking price of about pounds 2.6m each.

The company yesterday confirmed that the aircraft were for sale as part of cost-cutting measures, but declined to give details.

One of the aircraft, a Citation V with US specifiations, is being marketed for sale by brokers in America. It is understood that the other, a Citation III, is likely to be sold to Gilbert Gross, an Aegis director and the French co-founder of Carat, its main operating arm.

The aircraft were bought several years ago and were used by executives to travel to the company's offices around Europe and to visit clients. They were also heavily used in the past two years when Aegis created a Europe-wide media network with more than 20 acquisitions.

'During that time many company executives, particularly Mr Scott, were clocking up enormous amount of travel to put the acquisitions in place,' a company spokesman said.

'But there is little need for the planes now that the network is in place . . . as far as I know they were not used for private trips.'

Once the aircraft are sold, Aegis staff will have to use scheduled airline flights for business trips.

News of the expected disposals has emerged as Aegis faces considerable uncertainty over its prospects due to a French monopolies inquiry into the country's media-buying sector.

The shares have collapsed from a 215p peak last October to 45p yesterday, valuing it at pounds 54m.

Although the company maintains that Mr Scott's departure was prompted by personal reasons, there is a widespread belief that he was ousted in a boardroom coup backed by Warburg Pincus, Aegis's largest shareholder.

A keen polo player known for his flamboyant lifestyle, Mr Scott is expected to receive a pounds 2.5m pay- off for loss of office.