Rumours of an imminent tripartite deal between Cordiant Communications, Grey Worldwide and Havas Advertising were denied by Cordiant chief executive Michael Bungey in an interview with The Independent newspaper today (Tuesday).
Bungey insisted that Cordiant is “not talking to anyone at the moment”, although he admitted that the debilitated ad group – the globe’s eighth largest with £9.19 billion ($13.39bn; €14.83bn) in aggregated billings – needs to do “something quite radical” to achieve its ambitions.
“We want Cordiant to be a major player in the global communications business and we might not be able to do that on our own,” he conceded. Possible “radical” solutions could include the merging of Cordiant’s Bates Worldwide network [which today lost its $160 million Hyundai Motors America account to The Richards Group of Dallas] with another player of similar weight.
Bungey also told The Independent he did not lament his buying spree during the bonanza years at the turn of the century – despite the debt millstone this has hung round Cordiant’s neck.
“I don't regret them at all, though, with hindsight, if you were buying them today you'd definitely pay less money or you wouldn't buy them at all.” Acquisitions such as The Lighthouse Group in the US and international design consultancy Fitch, he argued, were insurance policies against the comparatively low-growth rates of the ad industry.
Although 2001 had been an “extremely difficult year” diversification and cost-cutting, including the axeing of some five hundred staff, had left Cordiant in the inside lane when the expected advertising upturn comes, Bungey claimed.
Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff