Sorrell Gets Clear Run at TNS After GfK Funding Deal Collapses

27 August 2008

NÜRNBERG: As WARC News observed last month, "What Sir Martin wants Sir Martin usually gets." Taylor Nelson Sofres, it seems, is not likely to be the exception to that rule. 

According to sources close to German research giant GfK, its attempt to trump WPP Group's $2.28 billion (€1.56bn; £1.24bn) bid hit the canvas Tuesday night after discussions with private equity group Apax Partners were terminated.

Sir Martin Sorrell's bid remains on the table until 29 August when, under UK Takeover Panel rules it will lapse. Meantime, TNS insists that the WPP proposal undervalues the company and its board will almost certainly reject the deal.

However, a campaigner of Sir Martin's mettle is unlikely to be deterred by such a rebuff, having almost certainly factored-in to his calculations a sweetened offer.

But it's not yet a one-horse race. At this juncture another attempt by Gfk to raise the necessary funds can't be ruled out, and it has until September 20 to make an acceptable offer to TNS shareholders.

None of the involved parties could be reached for comment last night.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff