Grey Global Group, long touted by the media as a likely takeover target, has seen its stock price rocket by more than ten per cent since Friday.
No-one knows why -- or if they do, their lips are zipped.
On Monday, the agency group's trading volume totaled 48,282 shares, the third-highest in its history and the largest since 1995. On Tuesday, the activity eased back to about 14,000 shares -- albeit still way ahead of the 2,756 daily average over the past twelve months.
A hostile bid is a virtual impossibility. Chairman/ceo Ed Meyer (77) retains a vice-like grip on the company, holding 13% of Grey common stock and 58.7% of Class B stock. His voting power gives him near-seigneurial rights over the election of all board members.
Alongside industry giants like Omnicom, WPP, Interpublic and Publicis, Grey is relative small fry with 2003 revenue of $1.3 billion (€1.07bn; £713.6m). But its stock has consistently outshone the rival quartet since the ad market began to recover in May 2002.
There can only be one possible explanation for the current trading. Someone knows something the rest of the ad and investment world doesn't.
As one media observer speculates: could that 'someone' be Meyer himself? And noted that that WPP's Sir Martin Sorrell is famously uncomfortable in second place.
Data sourced from: AdAge.com; additional content by WARC staff