A shaft of light that explains the recent mysterious sales surge in Grey Global Group shares [WAMN: 23-Jun-04].

It emerged Friday that Grey's 77-year-old chairman-ceo, Ed Meyer (also its controlling shareholder) is putting the agency holding company up for sale and has hired investment bank Goldman Sachs to execute the deed.

The sounds of smackin' lips fills the air as Grey's rivals stand in line at Goldman's platinum portals, checkbooks at the ready. Among those said to be in the queue are Japanese giant Dentsu, WPP Group and Publicis Groupe.

In 2003 Grey ranked seventh in the global league table, with revenues up 9% to $1.3 billion (€1.07bn; £713.58m) on net income of $29 million. But Grey's stock has outperformed all its larger rivals since the ad market began to recover in May 2002. The network employs around 10,000 worldwide.

Speaking to the Financial Times only last week Meyer said: "There are three reasons I would leave [Grey]: There is no more to be done; I am no longer productive; or the agency is not doing well and since I'm the leader, I ought to take the fall. None of these has happened yet, but one of the them will."

One has. But no-one at Grey -- least of all Meyer -- is saying which.

Data sourced from: AdAge.com; additional content by WARC staff