Questionmark Still Hangs Over Ownership of Zenith Outposts

26 August 2003

Despite the sale earlier this month of Cordiant’s 25% stake in ZenithOptimedia [WAMN: 21-Aug-03], the global media network it jointly owned with Publicis, WPP Group retains a controlling interest in nine of ZO’s regional outposts.

The nine Zenith agencies, spread over six regional markets – Argentina, Hong Kong, India, Indo-China, Malaysia and Norway – had been franchised by Publicis Groupe to Cordiant and were excluded from last week’s sale.

However, according to Zenith’s worldwide chief executive John Perriss, Publicis is currently “engaged in dialogue” with WPP to buy (or, where that is not possible, to annul) the franchises. An insider let it be known that “there is every chance a deal will happen” for a consideration in the region of £10 million ($15.74m; €14.45m).

Perris welcomed the recent acquisition of Cordiant’s stake. “Frankly, Publicis is not very good at sharing,” he said. “There has been quite a constraint in the development of ZenithOptimedia, in particular in cooperating with Starcom MediaVest Group [the media network acquired last summer by Publicis as part of its takeover of Bcom3 Group].”

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