NÜRNBERG: German research giant GfK and London-headquartered private equity group Apax Partners are jointly running their slide-rules over Aegis Group's market research unit Synovate, according to "anonymous sources" quoted in the Daily Telegraph.

The duo's interest has been simmering for several weeks, says the newspaper. In particular, the German company is looking to fill the gap left after its planned merger with Taylor Nelson Sofres was hijacked last autumn by Sir Martin Sorrell

Speculation, as ever, is rife in the absence of fact.

One popular scenario is that new Aegis chairman, the so-called 'Prince of Darkness' John Napier, is not unaware of the duo's interest in Synovate and would find its disposal a mightily convenient deck-clearing for a boarding-party led by French corporate raider Vincent Bolloré.

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