Grey Global Group, number seven in the world rankings with 2003 revenues of $1.307 billion, announced Tuesday it had more than doubled quarterly profits.
The New York-headquartered holding company posted a net profit of $10.8 million (€8.78m; £5.87m) for the second quarter, fuelled by robust performances in North America (+8.4%) and Europe (+17.8%). Year-on-year, worldwide revenues leapt 13.8% to $364m.
Meantime, as would-be buyers for the agency group -- among them WPP Group, Havas and private equity investor Hellman & Friedman -- rifle their piggybanks and dance the due diligence, one of Grey's biggest investors has unloaded around half its stock, opting to take part of its profits now.
According to a filing Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Brookside Capital Partners has slashed its 7.2% stake in Grey to 3.7%.
Few in the financial fraternity are surprised at the move. Since news emerged earlier this summer that Grey intended to put itself up for sale [WAMN: 28-Jun-04], its shares have soared and Brookside, a unit of private investment firm Bain Capital, seeks investments likely to yield long term gains.
Bain certainly gained. The firm's founder Mitt Romney, is on record as saying it invested in Grey because Bain considered it undervalued. When it bought the stock in 1999, Grey shares traded at below $400; on Tuesday they stood at $879.
Data sourced from: AdAge.com; additional content by WARC staff