Cordiant investors remove leaders as WPP takes control

LONDON: After a long and arduous fight over the fate of embattled marketing-services holding company Cordiant, its shareholders voted overwhelmingly to be bought out by WPP.

LONDON: After a long and arduous fight over the fate of embattled marketing-services holding company Cordiant, its shareholders voted overwhelmingly to be bought out by WPP.

At the same time, the angry shareholders voted for the removal of CEO David Hearn, chairman Nigel Stapleton, and CFO Andrew Boland - though the move was largely symbolic, as WPP will take control on August 1.

WPP's buyout package was worth ?266 million ($427 million). Under the terms of the deal, WPP will offer one new share for every 205 Cordiant shares, roughly valuing the firm's equity at just ?10 million ($16 million). The balance of the buyout will be paid to Cordiant's debt-holders.

The road to the final buyout had several twists, including an unexpected bidding war with French rival Publicis Groupe, an 11th-hour agreement by 28% shareholder Active Value to support the deal, and the emergence of a wealthy Parisian widow who curiously accumulated a sizable stake in the collapsing Cordiant for reasons that remained unknown at press time.

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