Grey Global makes three as it joins list eyeing Cordiant
LONDON - Grey Global Group, owner of Grey Worldwide advertising network, has joined WPP Group and Publicis Groupe in considering a bid for disaster-hit Cordiant Communications.
Like WPP, Grey is carrying out due diligence and is taking a look at the books of troubled Cordiant, which desperately needs to a find quick deal before it is deserted by any more of its clients.
It is understood that the Grey bid is being put together alongside venture capital firm Cerberus Capital Management.
The crisis began when Allied Domecq pulled its global advertising account and, last week, there was speculation that B&Q was set to pull its account too.
Cordiant's board met yesterday to talk about the situation and discuss possible bids.
Last week, shares in Cordiant tumbled by 20% after the group said it was considering an offer to buy the company that would value it below its current share price. Such a deal could give shareholders very little.
Yesterday, its shares rose slightly after news of WPP's interest. Its shares were up 13.64%, or 0.75p, to 6.5p before falling back to 6p. Similarly, WPP saw its shares rise on a bullish market, climbing throughout the day by over 4% to 508.75p, and were trading this morning up further at 518p.
Grey Global, which also owns media buying firm MediaCom, has never been very acquisitive. However, Cordiant's troubles are enough to bring Ed Meyer, the Grey Global chairman, president and CEO, to London.
Yesterday, WPP confirmed its interest in a statement. A spokesman for WPP said: "With regards to Cordiant, we can only confirm that we are continuing to undertake due diligence."
WPP has had discussions with Cordiant's bank UBS Warburg about a deal that could see it take on part of Cordiant's £250m debt.
WPP is reported to be most interested in Cordiant's 141 Communications below-the-line business and its healthcare agency network Healthworld.
Publicis, which has put together an administration package, might have the edge over WPP and Grey in that it already has a joint venture with Cordiant in ZenithOptimedia. The French firm owns 75% of media buyer, with the remainder held by Cordiant.
Last week, Cordiant completed the sale of 70% of its Australian communications interests to venture capitalists and management and the sale of its financial PR business Financial Dynamics is tipped to be finalised this week.
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