SOURCE: THREE MAKE BIDS ON CORDIANT

Offers All Said to Be for Whole Company

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Publicis Groupe, WPP Group and Cerberus Capital Management are believed to have placed bids to acquire Cordiant Communications Group whole.
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An executive with knowledge of the sale negotiations said Cordiant has received firm bids from all three ad agency holding companies. The Cerberus bid is being prepared in partnership with Grey Global Group, according to the executive.

'Feeding frenzy'
The executive said, "Publicis, WPP and Cerberus have made bids. It has been a feeding frenzy and how it turns out is anyone's guess." The executive said, however, that Cordiant would appear to have a fourth option on the table if none of these deals pan out: to hand-over control of the company to Cerberus, which owns a "significant portion of the debt."

Publicis and Cerberus had no comment, while WPP denied it had made a bid.

While a sale of Cordiant as a whole seems the best way to maintain continuity for clients (the whole meaning the company minus German ad agency Scholz & Friends and PR agency FD International, which are involved in separate MBO negotiations), there is considerable interest in two Cordiant divisions: Healthworld and 141 Worldwide. Grey is negotiating with Cerberus because it is interested in 141 Worldwide.

Grey Global
Grey Global also had no comment on its partnership with Cerberus, though the holding company has made no secret it often takes a look at potential assets that come up for review. British American Tobacco uses Grey Global's integrated shop G2 on its Lucky Strike brand, while 141 works on travel and retail.  

Omnicom refused to comment on speculation that BBDO North American President-CEO Andrew Robertson had looked at Cordiant's books with a view to expanding the agency's health care assets.  

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