Following a report in UK weekly newspaper the Independent on Sunday, speculation has mounted that Chicago-headquartered True North Communications is about to make a $1.66 billion pounce on Cordiant Communications, the London-based parent of Bates Worldwide.

Despite the rumours, which neither company would confirm or deny, Wall Street and the City of London remained unfazed yesterday. Stock in both groups meandered mildly, True North temporarily down by 9% to $47.69 while Cordiant rose by just 1% to $25.63.

The possibility of a takeover has been mooted for some time and is a prospect not uncongenial to Cordiant. From True North’s viewpoint, a deal would have added piquancy having recently been out-bid by Cordiant in the battle for the Chicago company’s local neighbor, Lighthouse Group[WAMN, 6 & 7-Jul-00].

True North is the parent of FCB Worldwide.

News source: Advertising Age - Daily Deadline