Matthew Freud buys £4m stake in PR company Huntsworth

Freud Communications founder acquires 3% stake in company, which owns PR firms including Citigate, Grayling and Red

Matthew Freud has bought a £4m stake in the company that owns a string of PR firms including Citigate, Grayling and Red.

Freud has acquired a stake of 3% in Huntsworth, which is run by Lord Chadlington, worth about £4m.

The Freud Communications founder has acquired 9,700,000 shares in Huntsworth through Rock Nominees.

While the share price at the time of purchase is not disclosed, the company was trading at about 41p on 30 July, when the transaction was made, which would indicate a payment of about £4m.

Freud, who is married to Rupert Murdoch’s daughter Elisabeth, has developed something of a habit of buying personal stakes in companies he feels are undervalued.

Earlier this month Huntsworth’s share price plummeted 18% after the company said that its results for the first half of this year would fall below investor expectations. Huntsworth will report half-year results in August.

In 2009 Freud bought a similar-sized stake in M&C Saatchi, the ad agency founded by brothers Charles and Maurice Saatchi.

He bought the shares at close to 20p and sold them at more than 200p several years later, making a multi-million profit.

In 2012, he acquired a 3% stake in polling company YouGov.

He also took a stake in Engine group, which owns assets including ad agency WCRS, which was sold this week to private equity firm Lake Capital.

Earlier this week Freud Communications took a significant minority stake in Seven Dials, the agency co-founded by former Independent editor Simon Kelner.

As part of the deal Andrew McGuinness, co-founder and chairman of Seven Dials, was appointed chief executive of Freud Communications.

McGuinness previously co-founded ad agency BMB with Trevor Beattie, and prior to that he was the chief executive of agency TBWA London.

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Mark Sweney

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