Police raided the Paris-based agency, headed by ex-Aegis bosses Eryck Rebbouh and Bruno Kemoun, last week on suspicion that the pair had violated their non-solicit agreements since leaving the network.
City analysts confirmed the agency, now part of Sir Martin Sorrell’s global WPP network, was being investigated by court-appointed officials.
The Twins, as they are known in the industry, split from the Aegis network in November 2003 after an acrimonious fall-out with the network’s Australian boss Doug Flynn.
It is believed the pair disagreed with Flynn’s business strategy for the future of the network, which focussed on investing heavily in research rather than concentrating on the core planning and buying operations favoured by the Twins.
They both signed clauses on their departure agreeing not to pursue Aegis clients but since the agency’s opening in September this year (2004) it has signed up a number of the network’s accounts including luxury goods brand LVMH, confectioner Ferrero and Bouygues Telecom.
City analysts confirmed Aegis had lost a string of key accounts worth approximately £209m in billings, £140m of which has gone to KR Media.
One industry insider speculated that the investigation could be an attempt by the Twins’ former network to stir up the French media in the hope that the legal progress would scare off other clients considering a move to KR Media when the non-solicit agreements expire next month.
The agency is mooted to be opening an office in the UK early in 2005 after renting space with WPP stablemate MindShare, although the Twins have denied a January launch date.
By Julia Martin