UK Regulator Drops Cordiant Share Probe

24 September 2003

Nahed Ojjeh – the glamorous Syrian whose surprise intervention in the Cordiant takeover saga kept adland guessing (and the tabloids slavering) – has been cleared by Britain’s government of breaching share-dealing rules.

The Department of Trade & Industry decided to investigate in July after Ojjeh purchased over 10% of Cordiant without informing regulators (as required under the UK code on mergers and acquisitions). An earlier probe by the Takeover Panel concluded that she had breached these guidelines [WAMN: 28-Jul-03].

However, the DTI says it has “looked into it and … decided not to take further action.” Ojjeh insisted her “lack of familiarity” with the takeover code was to blame.

At the time of her stake-building, Ojjeh – a keen chess player and the billionaire widow of a Saudi arms dealer – was said to be in cahoots with Publicis Groupe as it (unsuccessfully) tried to outmanoeuvre WPP Group for the hand of Cordiant. However, although Ojjeh is a shareholder in the French group [WAMN: 11-Jul-03], no such collusion was ever proved.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff