The Cordiant Communications melodrama took another twist Wednesday as Active Value Fund Management, the investment vehicle of British gambling duo Julian Treger and Brian Myerson, upped its stake in the stricken advertising group to more than 25%.

At this level AVFM is firmly in the driving seat. Treger and Myerson, having seemingly outsmarted Sir Martin Sorrell, can if they choose block WPP Group’s agreed takeover of Cordiant; or continue to build their stake to 30% or more – at which point under UK takeover law they must launch a full bid.

The duo, however, are still keeping everyone guessing as to their intentions. WPP, which now owns most of Cordiant’s debt, has warned it will put the company into administration if its takeover plan is frustrated.

Meantime, Cordiant’s 2002 Annual Report is in the mail to stockholders. Amongst other fascinating snippets of information, it will reveal the number of trailing zeros in the payoff to departed ceo Michael Bungey, whose profligate buying spree in the late nineties led to Cordiant’s current fiscal woes.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff