Earlier today, Cordiant and WPP issued a
"I did not want to engage Publicis in a course of overbidding, and considered that our last offer was fair and reasonable," Publicis Groupe's chairman, Maurice Levy, said in a statement.
London-based Cordiant is the parent of advertising network Bates Worldwide and other marketing communications companies.
Toby Hoare, group chief executive of Bates UK, said, "I'm delighted that we seem to have concluded this long saga. The majority of our clients and our people will find safe haven within WPP, where there are opportunities that don't exist in Cordiant."
WPP's most recent offer as of mid-afternoon today is $430 million for Cordiant's debt and $17 million for its equity, an executive familiar with the situation said. Cordiant's debt is $421 million.
That executive said that under the current plan, WPP is likely to align Bates' business with its J. Walter Thompson network in the U.S.; in continental Europe, it would be aligned with Red Cell; and in the Far East, Bates would be aligned with Y&R Advertising.
It is likely Publicis Groupe will buy Cordiant's 25% stake of Zenith Optimedia Groupe pursuant to the terms of a current agreement, the executives said. Publicis owns 75% of Zenith.
The current scheme requires the approval of Cordiant shareholders. A final agreement could be reached by the end of July.