Press reports have suggested that Cordiant Communications, owner of the Bates Worldwide network, is in the early stages of negotiations with French ad giant Publicis Groupe about a possible takeover.

The rumours were good enough for investors, with Cordiant’s share price climbing 7.5p to 94.5p. However, Cordiant has since denied the speculation, announcing: “We are not in talks with anyone. It’s business as usual.”

The UK-headquartered group – seen as a prime candidate for takeover in the ever-consolidating ad industry – has issued three profit warnings in the last four months and announced 1,100 redundancies [WAMN: 03-Dec-01].

News sources: The Times (London); CampaignLive (UK)