02 October 2000

A new world-embracing media shop is set to emerge from negotiations between Cordiant Communications of the UK and Paris-headquartered Publicis, ongoing since August [WAMN: 18-Aug-00].

Publicis acquired a 50% holding in Zenith Media as part of its agreed £1.1 billion takeover of Saatchi & Saatchi in June. The residual 50% is owned by Cordiant, which was demerged from Saatchi in December 1997.

The deal has already been agreed in principle, with Cordiant chief executive Michael Bungey happy to cede control of Zenith to Publicis in return for a stake of between 20% and 30% in an enlarged company. Agreement on the exact amount of the holding is all that prevents the deal being inked.

The resulting hybrid would absorb Publicis’s media buying subsidiary, Optimedia – creating one of the globe’s top five media buying groups. However, both Optimedia and Zenith are expected to retain their discrete identities, enabling them to avoid client conflicts.

News source: The Times (London)