Cordiant: The Jackals Move In

30 April 2003

Scenting a potentially fatal weakness, the jackals have started to circle following Cordiant Communications’ announcement Monday that it will wave goodbye to the £18 million ($29m; €26m) Allied Domeq business as of October.

In a statement issued Tuesday morning Cordiant revealed: “[We have] received very preliminary approaches, which may or may not lead to an offer being made for the company. This is one of a number of alternative strategic options that the board is considering.”

Inevitably the announcement triggered a flurry of speculation as to the identity of the mystery punter/s. And, as ever, publicity-hungry analysts stood in line to spell out to news-starved journos their respective guesswork variables.

The entrail-rakers mostly plumped for WPP Group or Publicis Groupe as the likely suitors. WAMN, which can guess along with the City of London’s finest prefers a dark horse - former small agency creative director Alan Page.

Last September it was announced in the UK ad press (with an apparently straight face) that Page was assembling “a team of senior figures from the advertising and marketing industries, as well as financial experts, and is considering a break-up of Cordiant. … and will use his AIM-listed company NWD to make the bid.” Following which there was a deafening silence.

NWD – in its pre-Page incarnation – was an Essex based online insurance, loans and mortgage broker with a scant profits record and not one iota of advertising experience.

However, Page has recently recruited an array of ‘advisors to the board’, among them Liam Strong whose roller-coaster of a CV includes marketing director at British Airways, ceo of Sears [which he quit abruptly] and a similar position at that icon of corporate rectitude, WorldCom International.

Any takers?

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff