London-headquartered agency group Cordiant Communications faces fresh speculation it is to break up after admitting it is offloading some of its Australian units.

The group has frequently denied that it needs to dismantle its operations to cope with debts forecast to grow to £200 million ($331m; €303m) by the end of the year. However, it is now in talks to sell some its antipodean business, among them George Patterson Bates, its chief agency asset down under.

“Cordiant … confirms that it has entered into preliminary discussions regarding the possible sale of a stake in certain of its Australian operations, including George Patterson Bates,” the company revealed. “Given the preliminary nature of these discussions it is too early to state whether or not this will lead to a transaction.”

The exact size of this stake has not been disclosed, but press reports suggest venture capitalist Pacific Equity Partners has been offered about 71% of George Patterson Bates, Australia’s second largest agency.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff