Snyder Sale on Fast Track as Rumors Stoke Stock

NEW YORK„Snyder Communications intends to move quickly to engineer a sale now that it has hired an investment bank to evaluate ways to maximize shareholder value.
If a suitable buyer can be found, the company expects ˜a definitive [sale] agreement before the end of the first quarter,” said Clay Perfall, chief financial officer of the Bethesda, Md.-based firm. Snyder has retained Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown to screen offers from potential suitors.
Snyder›s stock, a dud on Wall Street of late despite solid performances from its various operating units, surged almost 50 percent in the past two weeks after word leaked out that chairman Daniel Snyder and his sister, company president Michelle Snyder, received an unsolicited takeover bid, estimated by sources to be in the mid-$20s per share, for the company.
Snyder stock was trading above $18 per share at press time last Wednesday after stalling at around $13 for the past several months.
Snyder, with total annual revenues estimated at $770 million, could fetch $1.5-2 billion, according to sources. The consensus is that Snyder executives plan to sell while speculation has buoyed the stock price. ˜Once you make a decision to sell, then you do it fast,” said a source close to the process.
Global ad networks Interpublic Group of Cos., Publicis, Omnicom and WPP Group are seen as the most likely suitors. Executives at those companies could not be reached over the holidays.
Perfall declined to identify the firm that made the unsolicited bid and would not name potential suitors. But he did indicate an outright sale of the whole company, rather than of individual units, is the most likely scenario.
The company›s key holdings are ad agency Arnold Communications; marketing services firms Bounty SCA Worldwide and Brann Worldwide; and Internet communications company Other non-Snyder Communications ventures of Dan Snyder, such as the Washington Redskins football team, are not on the table, Perfall said.
The bulk of Snyder Communications› revenues„almost 80 percent „comes from Brann and Bounty SCA, according to an analyst. K

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.