No Obvious Explanation for Heavy Trading Activity

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NEW YORK ( -- Grey Global Group's stock soared to an all-time high today, jumping 6% to $833 a share in the second day of heavy trading.

The stock has risen more than 10%

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from Friday's close, even as rivals Omnicom Group, WPP Group, Interpublic Group of Cos. and Publicis Groupe all slipped.

The New York-based advertising and marketing services holding company declined to comment, citing a policy of not commenting on stock moves.

No obvious explanations
There were no obvious explanations for the activity. It's possible an institutional investor was selling shares, creating a mini-bidding war among investors looking to accumulate shares. Grey is thinly traded, making it hard to accumulate large blocks but also contributing to volatility when shares do trade.

Grey was the subject of a positive profile of the company and of Chairman-CEO Ed Meyer in today's Financial Times.

Grey is firmly under the CEO's control. Mr. Meyer, 77, owns 13% of Grey common stock and 58.7% of Class B stock, and shares he votes give him the power to elect all board members.

Contract extension
While Grey is perennially discussed as a takeover candidate, nothing could happen unless Mr. Meyer decided to sell -- and he shows no inclination of selling or retiring. Mr. Meyer extended his management contract by a year, taking it through Dec. 31, 2005, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing last month.

Grey trading volume totaled 48,282 shares on June 21, the third-highest trading volume on record and biggest since 1995. Volume pulled back to about 14,000 shares today, still far above the 2,756 daily average for the past year.

Grey, with 2003 revenue of $1.3 billion, is a fraction the size of Omnicom, WPP, Interpublic and Publicis. But its stock has outperformed all four since the ad market began to rebound in May 2002.

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