Image shows an out-of-home advertisement by Creature London that reads 'A Silver Spoon in every Bottle' and a contanier labelled 'Class Polish'

How to sell your agency

The ad agency Creature London was recently acquired by Dutch group Candid. Here, CEO Dan Cullen-Shute gives a frank, funny and insightful account of what the team at the agency learned during the process

When you’re in the process of ­selling an agency, there are loads of people you can ask for advice, but most of them will charge you for it, and not many of them have actually done it.

And even if you are lucky enough to know someone who started an agency, went through the batshit rollercoaster of running an agency, and then was lucky/privileged enough to get to a position of selling said agency, you’re not allowed to talk to them anyway, because your lawyer – to stress, your brilliant lawyer – is keen to impress upon you that there is no deal until the deal is done, and talking to anyone about it could endanger it. So, basically, shut up: you’re on your own, kid.

Which is fine. But nobody seems to have written about it, either. Which is weird, because selling an agency is fascinating. And complicated. And exhausting. And disconcertingly fragile as a process. Someone should write that down.

And so I have. Here’s the piece I wish I’d read before we sold Creature: or, as I like to think of it, how selling an agency happens not at all, and then all at fucking once.

Image shows a billboard campaign by Creature London that reads 'Powering Down'
Top: Poster from a campaign for the Social Mobility Foundation in the UK, which aims to address the class pay gap; Above: Eve Sleep poster campaign. All images: Creature London