Top Story


Home >> International >> Article

International: Day after Grey buyout, Ed Meyer unloads WPP stock; goes home with $445 m in cash

Font Size   16
International: Day after Grey buyout, Ed Meyer unloads WPP stock; goes home with $445 m in cash

Ed Meyer decided to take the money and run -- to the bank. Grey Global Group's chairman-CEO unloaded most of his new WPP Group stock barely a day after the British ad firm completed its Grey buyout March 7.

Meyer isn't leaving just yet. He has a contract to run the Grey Global operation through December 2006. After he steps down as CEO of the Grey Worldwide ad agency -- he has six months to propose a successor -- Meyer has the option to take a WPP board seat.

But his immediate issue is to figure out what to do with a cache of cash. Meyer, 78, and family interests stood to gross more than $400 million in cash and WPP stock on the sale of Grey, including his stock, family trusts, a family foundation's shares and stock options that could be converted into WPP stock.

WPP paid for half of Grey shares in cash and half in WPP stock. Assuming that mix,

WPP would have paid Meyer and his family about $165 million cash when the deal closed on March 7, by's analysis. Then Meyer sold the bulk of his WPP shares for $204 million, according to a Reuters report on Wednesday confirmed by an individual close to the situation.

Add in his payout for deferred compensation and supplemental pensions ($53.1 million) and a golden parachute ($22.7 million), and Meyer today is sitting on $445 million in cash, by's analysis.

A spokeswoman for Meyer didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. A WPP spokesman confirmed Meyer had sold a significant stake but declined to elaborate on the transaction.

Meyer does not have to disclose his WPP holding -- until he becomes a director -- so it's difficult to figure out precise holdings. But factor in the value of stock options and remaining shares and it appears Meyer and family interests still hold about $37 million in WPP stock.

The stock sale isn't surprising. During the bidding last summer for New York-based Grey Global, there was strong speculation Meyer was seeking an offer that would allow him to cash out, a logical move for estate planning. Meyer was the controlling shareholder in thinly traded Grey, and he and his family didn't have an easy way to cash out. Taking WPP's widely traded shares gave him a ready way to turn his holding into cash. Now Meyer has nearly completed his conversion of Grey into green.



Siddharth Kumar Tewary, Founder, Chief Creative, One Life Studios and Swastik Productions, on owning the IP on his most ambitious project 'Porus,' the risk of recovering its cost and his distribution strategy

Webscale plans to build the brand around smooth operations for the e-commerce sector and then move on to demand generation

Shriya Ghate, Business Head, Tinkle, spills the beans on the company's vision for its special line of merchandise launched to celebrate its 37th anniversary, its pricing, marketing strategies, and more

Vivek Patni, Director of Wonder Cement, on the current marketing strategies and challenges that brand owners face

Luis Fonsi, Rita Ora, Jain of Makeba fame , Dimitri Vegas, Jason Derulo, Charly Black and Dasu, J Balvin, Parineeti Chopra, Tiger & Jackie Shroff speak exclusively to the radio channel

The Film-Maker, as the host of ‘Calling Karan’, Will Be Just A Phone Call Away From Listeners Seeking Advice On Love & Relationship

The group aims to double its FMCG turnover to Rs. 1,000 crore over four years.