City spin doctors sell out for pounds 27m

ONE of the City's best known PR men, Tony Carlisle of Dewe Rogerson, was pounds 6m richer yesterday after the agency agreed to be taken over by a rival.

The pounds 27m takeover by Incepta, which owns the financial PR company Citigate, will also see 40 senior staff of Dewe Rogerson sharing a pounds 5.3m shares windfall. Two other founding directors of Dewe Rogerson, Roddy Dewe and Nico Rogerson, will share pounds 7m while the fourth founder, Johnny de Uphaugh, is thought to be walking away with around pounds 2m.

Mr Carlisle, who joined Dewe Rogerson in 1970, will join the board of the enlarged agency with responsibility for business development and client services. Mr Dewe and Mr de Uphaugh are both retiring while Mr Rogerson will act as a consultant to the new group focusing on New York and Hong Kong.

The share awards for the 40 top staff will range in value from pounds 50,000 to pounds 200,000 depending on seniority and experience. The remaining 290 employees of Dewe Rogerson will each receive shares worth pounds 750. The shares will be dispensed in three equal instalments over a two-year period in order to retain staff following the takeover.

The enlarged group will trade as Citigate Dewe Rogerson and will have 1,200 clients and fee income of pounds 65m, putting it among the UK's top three PR and advertising groups alongside Shandwick and Lowe Bell.

Incepta is paying pounds 13.3m in cash and pounds 11.1m in shares for Dewe Rogerson. In addition Dewe Rogerson is repurchasing a further pounds 2.6m of preference shares from its four founders.

David Wright, Incepta's chief executive, said it was paying one times Dewe Rogerson's fee income.The deal would be earnings enhancing in the first year.

Dewe Rogerson built up its business on the back of the last government's privatisations, advising on flotations of BT, British Gas, BP, British Steel and the water and electricity companies. Citigate's clients include Charles Schwab, the bus group Henlys and Granada.