Matthew Freud sells £12m luxury yacht to own company

PR guru’s accounts show his business acquired Kingdom Come last year, as he received massive dividend payout

The public relations guru Matthew Freud added the luxury yacht Kingdom Come to his company’s assets for £12m last year, as he pocketed more than £23m from his PR and marketing agency group.

The latest accounts for the parent company of the PR chief’s operations, Freud Holdings, also show that it acquired £1.37m in artworks from Freud “on an arm’s length basis at open-market value”.

His business is shown to have acquired Kingdom Come 1 LLP, cited as the “owner of a motor vessel”, at a market value of £12m. The financial filing shows that the yacht appears to have originally been bought by Freud, the sole director of the yacht’s parent company.

Freud, who has used the vessel to attend the Cannes advertising festival, generated big returns from Freud Communications, the PR subsidiary that has clients including Amazon’s The Grand Tour, the new motoring show starring Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May.

Freud Communications made £7.17m in post-tax profits last year, down slightly on the £7.6m made in 2014.

As the sole shareholder of the company, Freud effectively has access to those profits, and has received a £22.19m dividend. He was also paid £1m as the highest paid director of the parent company.

The dividend payout is a huge increase on the £3.6m Freud received in 2014. Freud received £11.2m in total payouts from his businesses in 2014, £8.4m in 2013 and £6.45m in 2012.

Freud’s business paid £1.25m in UK tax last year, down on 2014’s £2.96m.

Freud revealed that the business was seeking to lock in its top management to “lay down the foundation of future growth” by issuing “B” shares to “key personnel”.

Freud Communications saw revenues increase slightly from £37m to £39m, with 63% coming from operations in the UK.

Freud appears to be successfully expanding its operation internationally. In 2014 the UK business accounted for 78% of total revenues.

Freud Communications’ pre-tax profits rose from £7.69m to £8.36m last year. The company’s operating margin increased from an already healthy 27.6% to 30.8%.

Total staff costs at Freud Communications, including directors’ remuneration, was £14.9m last year. The company saw employee numbers fall from 224 to 216.

Directors, listed as Rebecca Hirst and Andrew McGuinness, the former ad agency boss who was appointed chief executive in 2014, took home £446,100 between them.

Contributor

Mark Sweney

The GuardianTramp

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Matthew Freud | MediaGuardian 100 2010
Job: chairman, Freud Communications
Age: 46
Industry: public relations
Turnover: £33m
Staff: 172
Worth: £190m (joint, with wife Elisabeth Murdoch)
2009 ranking: 74

19, Jul, 2010 @4:54 AM