WPP DEAL FOR CORDIANT SAID TO BE CLOSE

Would Fold Cordiant's Ad Agency Bates Into JWT in U.S.

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LONDON (AdAge.com) -- WPP Group is seen as the lead contender to acquire Cordiant Communications Group and could announce a deal early this week that would mark the end of Cordiant's Bates agency as a separate network.

If shareholders accept the WPP offer,

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Bates would be folded into WPP's J. Walter Thompson in the U.S., where both agencies handle Pfizer, people familiar with the situation said. In other countries, Bates could become part of WPP networks such as Red Cell.

Failed ouster
On June 13, U.K.-based Cordiant shareholder Active Value, which has opposed a sale and tried to oust Cordiant's management and install its own team, upped its Cordiant stake to 16.75% from 14.1%.

Cordiant also confirmed the sale of its 77.3% stake in European network Scholz & Friends to management and venture capital firm Electra European Fund.

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