Sorrell's Improved Bid for TNS Spurned 'Within Hours'

14 May 2008

LONDON: Taylor Nelson Sofres, the world's second largest market research company, wasted no time in rejecting an improved offer from WPP Group. The sweetened bid hit the desk of TNS chairman Donald Brydon on Tuesday only to receive an abrupt 'niet' within a matter of hours.

Said Brydon: "The board met today and had no hesitation in rejecting this revised proposal which substantially undervalues the company even on a standalone basis.” 

TNS is currently in merger negotiations with German counterpart GfK - a move that provoked the first unwelcome intervention by Sir Martin Sorrell.

WPP, which has substantial market research interests of its own under the banner of its Kantar unit, believes it has a right to view TNS' accounts.

Said a WPP spokesman: "We are disappointed that our latest attempt to engage with TNS management on a friendly basis in order to deliver an attractive proposal for TNS shareholders has met with continued resistance.

"TNS's continuing refusal to share the same information it has given to GfK prevents us from operating on a level playing field."

Sorrell's sweetened offer, which values TNS at £996 million ($1.94bn; €1.25bn), clearly lacks sufficient saccharine. At £1.64 in cash plus £0.1214 in WPP shares it remains substantially below yesterday's closing price of £2.4925 per share.

Observers – and TNS shareholders – now await a third and more credible offer.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff