UK investment speculator Active Value Fund Management is on the verge of acquiring a key stake in Cordiant Communications – the magic 25% at which it could (and almost certainly would) block Cordiant’s acquisition by Sir Martin Sorrell’s WPP Group.

Hovering like a spectre at the wedding, Active Value on Tuesday upped its stake by 102,388,099 shares to 24.53%. The move follows last week’s leap from 16.7% to 23.94%.

Success by AV in acquiring the critical extra 0.47% would likely force Cordiant into administration, enabling AV to cherry-pick its assets, among which are marketing-services network 141 Worldwide, medical marketing specialist HealthWorld and Bates Worldwide.

A second scenario, supported by recent press reports, is that AV could join with Grey Global Group to concoct a package to compete head-on with WPP.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff