WPP Extends Offer Deadline in Attempt to Wriggle Off Tempus Hook

31 October 2001

WPP Group may today (Wednesday) learn from Britain's Takeover Panel the result of its appeal to withdraw its £432 million bid for Tempus Group on grounds of “material adverse change” in the latter’s trading fortunes following the events of September 11. Meantime, WPP has extended until November 5 the deadline for acceptance of its offer.

In an ironic reversal of attitude between the two main protagonists, WPP’s chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell now fervently hopes permission will be granted to abandon the deal; while the fingers of Chris Ingram, his opposite number at Tempus, are tightly crossed that it will proceed.

Sir Martin, who stalked Tempus as a takeover target over a two year period by progressively building a beachhead stake, seeks a negative outcome. Not only because the agreed price is far beyond the target’s current market value but also because WPP’s own prospects are less than rosy in the present recessionary climate.

Chris Ingram, on the other hand, prays for the deal to go through as it will enrich him personally by a cool £60m – a different song from that previously sung when he rejected WPP’s overtures to the tune of some very public and uncomplimentary remarks about Sir Martin.

News source: CampaignLive (UK)