The race for Cordiant Communications has galloped into the final straight with Sir Martin Sorrell’s WPP Group surging into the lead with an exclusive negotiation deal – leaving the other runners standing ... and just one more hurdle to jump.

With a reported offer of £210 million ($349.46m; €299.30m), albeit below Cordiant’s current share price which closed Friday at £0.07, WPP has been granted exclusive negotiating status and insiders are talking of a swift deal completed this week – possibly even today (Monday).

But the winner will be declared only after the final hurdle has been jumped. And the bar has been set high by investment group Active Value Fund Managers which controls 14.1% of Cordiant’s stock.

AVFM tossed a spanner into the works last week with a demand for the dismissal of Cordiant’s entire senior management team including David Hearn and Andy Boland – respectively chief executive and finance director – at the same time lining up its own replacement executive cadre [WAMN: 04-Jun-03].

A shareholders’ meeting has been formally requisitioned to discuss the AVFM proposal - at which hurdle the WPP deal could fall. Sorrell’s squad was not prepared to comment over the weekend, save to confirm WPP “is continuing with due diligence in order to finalise its proposals for Cordiant”.

Data sourced from: Financial Times and The Times (UK); additional content by WARC staff