Grey International and the French network, BDDP, are in talks about a
merger to bolster Grey’s stature on Procter and Gamble’s global roster.
Secret discussions between the two networks have been taking place for
some weeks, with staff told not to deny or comment on the behind-the-
The merger would provide Grey, one of P&G’s four roster agencies, access
to BDDP’s P&G business in the US, currently handled by Wells Rich Greene
BDDP in New York. It would also bring in BST-BDDP’s European Hasbro
business. Grey handles Hasbro in the US.
For BDDP, which has spent the past three years recovering from near
collapse following the purchase of Wells Rich Greene and the loss of IBM
and Continental Airlines, the deal would provide a route to one of the
world’s richest ad groups. Grey International’s 1994 billings figure was
dollars 2.5 billion, while BDDP’s was dollars 0.9 billion.
The deal throws up no conflicts, with the exception of BST-BDDP’s Philip
Morris Marlboro business in the UK which would clash with Grey’s BAT
Jean-Claude Boulet, the founder and chairman of BDDP, commented: ‘This
is absolutely untrue. We have been associated with many mergers but
there is no foundation to this story.’
Last year, BDDP appointed Paula Forman to replace Kenneth Olshan as
president of Wells Rich Greene BDDP and described Wells Rich Greene’s
results of the past five years as ‘disappointing’.
If the merger goes ahead BST-BDDP could either buy back BDDP’s 40 per
cent shareholding or merge with the Grey-owned Mellors Reay and