According to a report from Reuters Tuesday, there is no truth in the Sunday Telegraph story that a Cordiant Communications board meeting later this week will approve its own effective demise by agreeing to sell-off all its main components including the Bates Worldwide network [WAMN: 17-Feb-03].
The Telegraph story divulged that a meeting of board directors has been called for Thursday to discuss the disposal plan, intended to satisfy its bankers to whom the agency holding company reportedly owes some £200 million.
This was fuelled by a report in the Financial Times suggesting that a management buyout is under way at Cordiant-controlled Scholz & Friends, the Hamburg-headquartered European agency network.
Meanwhile Cordiant has remained silent, save to confirm it is negotiating to sell its Australian operations, including that nation’s second-largest ad shop, George Patterson Bates.
The latest in the ragbag of rumour came Tuesday from Reuters which revealed that a [presumably senior] Cordiant ‘source’ had denied the board is set to break-up the firm.
The smart money around London adland’s parish pump is betting that Cordiant will retain the Bates network in the short term while disposing of most other assets to raise cash and quieten its creditors. It will then buttress the Bates balance sheet every which way it can before selling to one or another of its global rivals.
Cordiant’s powerful and troublesome shareholder troika – Julian Treger and Brian Myerson (of Active Value Fund Managers) and Maurice Saatchi’s nemesis, Chicago fund manager David Herro – is unlikely to settle for anything less.
Data sourced from: Telegraph.co.uk and Reuters; additional content by WARC staff