Lévy drawn into high court battle with Kitcatt Nohr

KNAS founders Paul Kitcatt, Marc Nohr
KNAS founders Paul Kitcatt, Marc Nohr

Maurice Lévy has been drawn into a high court battle between Publicis Groupe and the founders of Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw.

The founders and management of KNAS are suing Publicis for up to £4.9m in an unpaid earn-out after Publicis’ 2011 deal to buy the agency and £3.6m in damages for breach of contract. Publicis is "vigorously" defending itself against the claims.

The case centres on reassurances Publicis executives gave KNAS’s management about the strength of Digitas’ relationship with Procter & Gamble, which accounted for 52.7% of its 2010 revenues, ahead of the deal and merger of the two agencies.

In court on Monday, the claimants’ barrister questioned Publicis’ decision not to call Lévy, outgoing chairman and chief executive of Publicis, as a witness. Andrew Sutcliffe QC said the "only appropriate inference to draw is that Mr Lévy’s evidence simply would not support the defendant’s case".

Jean-Michel Etienne, Publicis’ global chief financial officer and CFO at MMS UK, the division that bought KNAS in 2011, is giving evidence.

The case continues.

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