Shares in Saatchi & Saatchi and Cordiant leapt on Wednesday morning
following news of the merger of Leo Burnett and MacManus, amid
speculation that the pair will be the next takeover targets.
Analysts also mooted the possibility of Grey merging with Saatchis,
bringing Procter & Gamble’s two smaller agency networks together.
Saatchis’ stock had gone up by nearly 8 per cent to 265p from a base of
244.50p as Campaign went to press, while Cordiant’s share price also
rose by around 8 per cent, with the day’s highest rate at 194p.
The trading activity and interest surrounding the two companies has been
fuelled by the fact that the Interpublic Group was jilted at the last
minute by MacManus, leaving it hungry for a fast acquisition. Extensive
preparation had been made within the group for a relatively effortless
merger with MacManus but the merger of Ammirati Puris Lintas with Lowe &
Partners Worldwide means that there is now a gap for a third network in
Lorna Tilbian, an analyst for West LB Panmure, said: ’IPG has to fill
its gap with a third network having made way for it, and Saatchis must
look like an attractive option. The preparation has already been made
for the possibility of a Unilever network sitting happily with a Procter
& Gamble one.’
Independent media buying networks have also been put under scrutiny by
the formation of BDM.