HOW ED MEYER RULES ALL IN THE GREY ZONE
A Look at One Man's Hold on a Corporate Board
GREY GLOBAL CONFIRMS BANKERS HIRE; WON'T SELL PIECEMEAL
But Intact Sales Strategy Limits Number of Prospective Buyers
PUBLICIS WITHDRAWS AS POTENTIAL GREY GLOBAL SUITOR
Says Acquisition Would Not Be in Best Interests
CLIENT CONFLICT IMPLICATIONS OF GREY GLOBAL'S SALE
And Why P&G's Ad Accounts Are the Deal's Wild Card
GREY GLOBAL GROUP GOES ON THE BLOCK
Hires Goldman Sachs to Investigate Possible Sale
GREY GLOBAL GROUP STOCK PRICE HITS ALL-TIME HIGH
No Obvious Explanation for Heavy Trading Activity
Brookside Capital Partners in recent weeks cut its stake to 3.7% from the 7.2% interest it owned at the end of March, according to a filing today with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Third largest shareholder
Brookside Capital had been Grey's third largest shareholder, behind Chicago money manager Ariel Capital Management and Grey's chairman-CEO, Ed Meyer.
The investor's sell off isn't that surprising. Brookside, part of Boston private investment firm Bain Capital, invests in securities where it sees opportunities for long-term gains. Bain Capital's founder, Mitt Romney, in the past said the firm invested in Grey because it considered the advertising company undervalued and saw a chance that Grey one day would be sold, according to a knowledgeable individual.
Mr. Romney, now governor of Massachusetts, no longer is involved with Bain Capital. Brookside's managing director, Roy Edgar Brakeman III, hadn't returned a call at deadline.
Betting on profits now
In taking some money off the table, Brookside could be betting that most of the profits on Grey stock already have been made. Grey's stock price -- with a closing price of $879 today -- is little changed from late June, when media reports first surfaced that Grey was considering a sale. Grey confirmed last month that it had hired investment bankers to shop the company.
At least three possible buyers -- agency holding companies WPP Group and Havas and private-equity firm Hellman & Friedman -- are considering bids. But there so far is no sign of a bidding war that would send the stock significantly north of its current price.
Investment paid off
Brookside's long-term investment paid off. The stock traded below $400 a share in 1999, when Brookside disclosed its first Grey holding. Brookside's remaining 42,395 Grey shares are worth about $37 million.