TOP SHAREHOLDER MOVES TO STOP CORDIANT SALE

U.K. Investment Group Wants New Officers Installed

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LONDON (AdAge.com) -- Active Value, the top shareholder of Cordiant Communications Group, is taking action to block any sale of the financially beleaguered
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advertising company until new corporate officers are installed. Active Value, a U.K. investment group that owns 14.1% of Cordiant, issued its statement this morning.

Potential sale
The move comes two days after AdAge.com reported that three suitors -- Publicis Groupe, WPP Group and Cerberus Capital Management -- are believed to have placed bids to acquire all of Cordiant.

Active Value indicated it was alarmed by news reports in the U.K. that Cordiant CEO David Hearn and Finance Director Andy Boland stand to receive large bonuses if the business is sold.

Cordiant had not returned calls for comment by press time.

Wants new officers
Active Value, a turnaround and buyout specialist, said it wants to see Stephen Davidson, vice chairman of German bank WestLB, installed as finance director of Cordiant, and Richard Wheatly as executive chairman. Mr. Wheatly was CEO of the U.K.'s Jazz FM for nine years after leaving Publicis' Leo Burnet Co., where he was the U.K. chairman.

Active Value was reportedly behind the ousting of Cordiant's former CEO, Michael Bungey, last year. Mr. Hearn was promoted from Bates Worldwide to replace Mr. Bungey in September 2002, but the change of management has not resulted in a change of fortune at Cordiant.

Active Value has called for an extraordinary general meeting as early as June 25 in an attempt to force out the existing management and prevent the company being sold at its current share price.

Inject $25 million
Active Value has agreed to inject $25 million into Cordiant and hopes to find another $35 million from existing or new investors, it said. WestLB is expected to put up some money.

Active Value said it was seeking to "ensure the company is refinanced through a proposed capital injection program that has been delivered to the company's financial advisers by agents who are acting for the new management team."

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