WPP WON'T REVISE CORDIANT OFFER

CEO Martin Sorrell Is Upbeat About Economy at Annual Meeting

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The operatic saga of the Cordiant Communications Group acquisition by WPP Group opened a new act this week, with WPP today saying it wouldn't revise the terms of its offer for Cordiant.

Sent to shareholders
Details of WPP's offer were sent to shareholders on June 28,

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with WPP offering Cordiant shareholders one share of WPP stock for each 205 shares of Cordiant. At Monday's stock price, Cordiant shareholders would get $16 million in WPP stock. WPP proposed to buy the holding company for $447 million.

WPP on Friday also bought Cordiant's remaining debt from New York investment firm Cerberus Capital Management for $151 million plus $18 million in interest and "certain other payments." This makes WPP the sole Cordiant creditor, giving WPP a strong voice in pushing along the acquisition.

Today's statement came in response to moves by U.K. investment company Active Value, which has been steadily increasing its stake in Cordiant. Active Value moved its stake up from 25.7% to 26.7% by market close on Friday. While Active Value is refusing to comment on its reasons for buying additional shares, it is widely held that it was seeking a better deal from WPP.

WPP annual meeting
Speaking at WPP's annual general meeting today, Chief Executive Martin Sorrell delivered a update for the first five months of the year. He said the U.S. economy was improving and gave rise to some medium-term optimism for 2004. "There are signs of stabilization in the advertising and marketing services industry, particularly in the U.S.," he said in a statement.

Mr. Sorrell said worldwide revenues were down over 3% in part due to currency fluctuations. Revenues were up almost 2% in North America and up 3% in Europe.

Broken down by sector, advertising and media investment management revenues increased more than 3% while public relations and public affairs were down 4%.

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