The GGT group is close to buying France’s BDDP network in a deal that
would make it one of the world’s top 15 agency groups and give it a toe-
hold on the Procter and Gamble roster.
The acquisition would also give a sizeable stake in the network to
BDDP’s senior managers, including Jean-Marie Dru and Jean-Claude Boulet
- two of its founders - and Rod Wright, the executive in charge of
GGT’s chairman, Michael Greenlees, declined to comment on the
negotiations, but sources close to the deal said it will involve the
sale of all of BDDP’s assets, including the flagship Wells Rich Greene
BDDP agency in the US and the network’s 20 per cent stake in the
flourishing Batey group in Asia.
All of the agency names covered by the deal - including London’s BST-
BDDP - will remain as standalone brands.
Lorna Tilbian, a media analyst at the City brokers, Panmure Gordon, said
the acquisition would be particularly beneficial to Greenlees, who has
successfully expanded his group in the US but does not as yet have a
foothold in New York, or on the P&G roster. Greenlees is also understood
to be keen to achieve critical mass in Europe.
In the US, the GGT group controls GSD&M in Austin, Texas, the
Minneapolis-based Martin Williams and Atlanta’s Bright House. However,
it only has minor interests in Europe, where it acquired the GGK network
in June 1993.
By contrast, BDDP runs eight European agencies and is particularly
strong in its home market of France. The new group would have a combined
income of more than dollars 400 million.
BDDP was put up for sale early this summer by a group of its majority
shareholders, led by the banker, Walter Butler. Grey and the WPP group
were both reported to have been early bidders, but the initial dollars
200 million price- tag is thought to have been too high.
GGT came into the bidding late and is reported to have been talking
numbers as much as dollars 100 million below the asking price. But its
trump card appears to have been securing the support of BDDP’s
management. BDDP’s original purchase of Wells Rich Greene was against
the wishes of its top managers and ran into trouble. The group’s backers
are anxious not to repeat this mistake.