WPP to Keep Havas Waiting over Tempus Purchase

23 July 2001

WPP Group chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell could keep France’s Havas Advertising waiting for up to three weeks before announcing whether his company will make a counter-bid for British media buying group Tempus Group.

None too happy with Havas’ proposed £425 million acquisition of the British group [WAMN: 19-Jul-01], Sorrell has requested full details of Tempus’s financial situation, to which he is entitled under takeover regulations as a potential bidder. WPP has three weeks before the first possible acceptance date, during which it will study the Tempus data and decide whether to launch a bid of its own.

Despite no little animosity between Sorrell and Tempus chairman Chris Ingram, WPP has managed to accumulate a 22% stake in the media buying company. Although WPP may decide it does not want to acquire Tempus, it could launch a counter-bid to drive the Havas offer up and so boost the profit accrued from its stake.

News source: Financial Times