TNS Concedes to Sorrell

07 October 2008

LONDON: "What Sir Martin wants, Sir Martin usually gets," WARC News observed back in July. And Sir Martin, as usual, has won the day. The board of Taylor Nelson Sofres conceded defeat yesterday (Monday) and accepted WPP Group's £1.1 billion ($1.91bn; €1.42bn) offer to acquire the company. 

Melding Taylor Nelson with WPP's research unit, Kantar, will create the globe's second-largest market research operation by revenue, second only to The Nielsen Company.

Of key importance in the psyche of WPP's chief executive, the acquisition – which make sense in its own right – is  very much more than the sum of its parts.

It will also make WPP the world's largest marketing services company by revenue, leapfrogging Omnicom Group. An ambition that, while never publicly stated, is thought by many to have driven Sorrell's actions over the past decade.

Meantime, Taylor Nelson and Kantar, both based in London, are highly complementary in geographic terms. The former's main strength lies in Western Europe, while Kantar's research division is bigger stateside.

Taylor Nelson currently has 15,000 employees; Kantar 13,000. The single certainty surrounding their union is that the companies' combined payroll is unlikely to number 28,000 for much longer.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff