WPP closes in on Pci:Live deal

Global advertising giant WPP is on the verge of acquiring Pci:Live as part of its proposed takeover of parent company Cordiant Communications Group.

Pci:Live is part of Cordiant arm Fitch Worldwide. Industry insiders say WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell is keen to take over the business after losing out to Cordiant in 2001 when it bought PCI LiveDesign and merged it with HP:ICM.

WPP owns face-to-face marketing outfit Enterprise IG, which could be merged with Pci:Live if any takeover is successful. Enterprise IG and Pci:Live share clients including GlaxoSmithKline. Also, WPP's biggest client is said to be Ford Motor Company, which uses Pci:Live for its European events.

Pci:Live marketing director Felicity Kelly said: "If they wanted to integrate the two companies I don't believe it would damage us. We are profitable and well-run and we are confident that WPP respects our business and profile. We have no worries about our future."

Cordiant's shareholders are due to meet on 23 July to decide on the fate of the two companies.

Meanwhile, Pci:Live has produced the tenth Microsoft Tech Ed 2003 in Barcelona's Monjuic 2 Exhibition Centre.

The IT forum took place from 30 June to 4 July and attracted more than 6,500 IT professionals and software developers from 50 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

About 200 exhibitors showcased the latest Microsoft products and applications and on the fourth night, Pci:Live produced a party for 7,000 guests.

The event was designed around a Club Ten anniversary theme with two areas for the evening activities.

The Ten Below bar featured ice sculptures and a vodka bar. Chilli-flavoured vodka and oxygen dispensers were on offer in the Ten Above bar.

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