WPP Wins 61% of TNS - But Will Cedar Rock Rain on Sorrell's Parade?

06 October 2008

LONDON: WPP Group on Saturday claimed that 61% of Taylor Nelson Sofres shareholders had accepted its bid, with the former now commanding 43% of the market research giant's stock. But might that be the sound of distant cavalry bugles we hear?

One of TNS' largest shareholders, UK-headquartered Cedar Rock Capital, has upped its holding beyond 10% – and is thought to be still buying.

Although CRC's move is unlikely to prevent Sir Martin Sorrell's acquisition of TNS – now virtually certain – it  can (and probably will) impede his gaining full control via the so called 'squeeze-out' procedure which forces smaller shareholders to sell their stock.

CRC has been a vocal supporter of TNS's ongoing independence and its motives for upping its holding are unknown. However, some observers believe this to be a spoiling tactic that will force Sorrell to dig deeper into his purse to win absolute control.

Meantime, TNS Chairman Donald Brydon said: "It's been pretty clear to us all along that this offer doesn't properly value the company. There is still a significant shareholding that agrees with us."

Data sourced from mrweb.com; additional content by WARC staff