Grey Global Mulls Swoop for Cordiant As AVFM Intervenes

04 June 2003

A third contender is circling the stricken figure of Cordiant Communications.

Grey Global Group, parent of Grey Worldwide and MediaCom, has joined WPP Group and Publicis Groupe in investigating a takeover deal for the stricken London-headquartered agency group.

Like its competitors, Grey is presently studying Cordiant’s accounts. The New York-headquartered agency group is reportedly teaming with venture capital firm Cerberus Capital Management, whose interest in making a bid was reported earlier this week [WAMN: 02-Jun-03].

Cordiant – parent of Bates Worldwide – is reeling from a series of account defections and struggling to pay off its debt mountain.


As predicted Monday [WAMN: 02-Jun-03] Julian Treger and Brian Myerson of Active Value Fund Managers (which controls 14.1% of Cordiant’s stock) intervened in the melodrama one day later. Informed observers also believe that Maurice Saatchi’s nemesis, Chicago fund manager David Herro, is waiting in the wings to make his entrance accompanied by an ominous drumroll.

AVFM claims it is ready to put up £15 million ($24.46m; €20.86) of a proposed equity injection of £30m-£40m. In return for which it is demanding the dismissal of Cordiant’s entire senior management team including David Hearn and Andy Boland – respectively chief executive and finance director.

Treger and Myerson have their replacements ready. Former Jazz FM chief executive Richard Wheatly would be installed as executive chairman alongside WestLB banker and ex-Telewest ceo Stephen Davidson as finance director. A whole new management team is waiting to step into the shoes of the present incumbents – including a chief executive from elsewhere in the advertising firmament.

Invited to comment on the matter Tuesday night, Cordiant declined.

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