TNS Tussle: Sorrell Takes Umbrage as GfK Takes Time

20 August 2008

NÜRNBERG: Chiding Sir Martin Sorrell for his impatience to ingest Taylor Nelson Sofres into WPP Group's maw, GfK ceo Klaus Wuebbenhorst has responded with a taunt: "We have until September to present a friendly offer. We will use this time."

This was the German giant's languid reaction to Sorrell's outburst last week when he told journalists that GfK was misleading the market. "They say they have access to an unidentified but substantial source of capital. It is time to put up or shut up."

But GfK, preferring to move at its own pace rather than that dictated by Sir Martin, is taking its time in negotiating funding for a counter-bid, closeted with German billionaire Gunter Herz and private equity groups Apax Partners and Cinven.

It has yet to table an offer – and is clearly in no hurry to do so. Much to Sorrell's chagrin.

Meantime, bitchiness blossoms. TNS chairman Donald Brydon has accused Sorrell of trying to "screw us up", to which the latter's response was that Brydon must be living in "Dreamsville" if he thought that was WPP's motivation.

Or "Realsville"?

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff