Wren, Reinhard cash in on sales of Omnicom stock

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If you want to follow the money, get behind John Wren and Keith Reinhard. Mr. Wren, Omnicom Group's president-CEO, last week cleared $8 million by exercising stock options and is sitting on options for shares worth nearly $350 million.

Mr. Reinhard, chairman of Omnicom's DDB Worldwide, sold three blocks of stock in late February, continuing to shrink his stake. Since August, he's reduced his Omnicom holding by 38%, bringing in $12 million by selling shares and cashing in stock options, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mr. Reinhard, 69, is selling shares as he cuts back this year to half time at DDB. He remains the biggest individual shareholder at the top marketing-services firm, with a 0.15% stake worth $23 million. He declined to comment.

Mr. Wren, who also declined to comment, is a few thousand shares behind Mr. Reinhard in share ownership. But he's sitting on a mountain of options. Mr. Wren, 51, has options to buy 4.3 million shares worth $348 million at Omnicom's current price (though you'd have to subtract the options' exercise price to see his potential profit). Put another way, Mr. Wren has options to buy a 2.3% stake in Omnicom.

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This spring's proxy statement will show how many of those options are in the money-giving Mr. Wren the right to buy shares below the current market price. Last spring's proxy showed the majority of his options were exercisable. Omnicom valued his in-the-money options at $38 million at year-end 2002. Options are more valuable now; Omnicom's stock price has risen 26% since 2002.

Stockholders may not mind sharing some wealth with Messrs. Reinhard and Wren, who have been at Omnicom since its formation in 1986. Among marketing-services firms, Omnicom is the biggest, most profitable and most consistent performer. The stock is below the bubble-era 1999 peak of $107. But since the stock tumbled in 2002 over questions about accounting, it's doubled in price to last week's close of $81.06.

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