TNS Says WPP 'Must Do Better'

01 September 2008

LONDON: Despite determined opposition from Taylor Nelson Sofres management to a takeover by WPP Group, the UK-headquartered market research giant has left room for manoeuvre.

Ceo David Lowden told shareholders the current offer from WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell is "somewhat opportunistic", recommmending they seek a better deal if they really want to sell.

Otherwise he urges them to "continue to support management in continuing to operate as we are".

TNS's defiant stand appears to have been strengthened by last week's robust interim results, which saw revenues rise 5.1% to £580 million (£393.8m; £317m).

Pre-tax profits, adjusted for the same factors as revenues, were up 13.3% at £41.8m.

The ball now seems to be firmly in Sorrell's court, following the withdrawal from the contest of German-headquartered MR firm GfK, which has abandoned attempts to better WPP's bid.

Said GfK ceo Klaus Wuebbenhorst: "We didn't want TNS at any price. There are alternatives and we will pursue them, acquiring in markets we consider interesting for an expansion."

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff