Maurice Saatchi unveils his multimedia project

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The Independent Online

Media Editor

Maurice Saatchi, the UK's best known advertising man, will today announce his entry into the multimedia sector, with the launch of Megalomedia, a new investment vehicle listed on the AIM market.

The aptly named company will provide the focus for Mr Saatchi's aspirations in new media, which he believes to be the pre-eminent growth business of the future.

Famous for co-founding and then being forced out of the Saatchi & Saatchi advertising network, Mr Saatchi, who is chairman of Megalomedia, will unveil two investments in the media business at an extraordinary meeting of the company today.

The first, a 50 per cent stake in Forward Publishing, will give Megalomedia a window on to the contract publishing business, where Forward's clients include National Westminster Bank, Cable & Wireless, Tesco, Marks & Spencer and the RAC.

The company is also taking a 39.8 per cent stake in Framestore, a digital special effects company based in London. It had profits in the year to April 1995 of pounds 750,000 on sales of pounds 5m.

Megalomedia is the new name of Graduate Appointments Services, a media recruitment specialist previously owned by Michael Heseltine's Haymarket holding company. Mr Heseltine, now Deputy Prime Minister, sold Graduate Appointments last year to Josephine Hart, Mr Saatchi's wife, in exchange for her minority stake in Haymarket.

Graduate Appointments was then launched on the stock market under Rule 4.2, graduating to the AIM market earlier this year. It is now 60 per cent owned by Mr Saatchi, his wife, and his brother, Charles Saatchi, co-founder of the advertising agency that bears their name.

Suspended from trading pending announcement of the two acquisitions, Megalomedia is to readmitted next Tuesday. Mr Saatchi is said to be fascinated by the technological aspects of new media, and favours an aggressive acquisition strategy. He is expected to push for further purchases of new media companies, financed initially by capital of pounds 2m and no debts.