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