Emulating the ‘will they, won’t they?’ game played by WPP Group prior to its counter-bid for Tempus Group, rival bidder Havas Advertising has responded in like fashion by extending for the second time the closing date for its [originally accepted] offer.

Paris-headquartered Havas yesterday formally told the London Stock Exchange it had postponed until September 17 the deadline for shareholders’ acceptance of its offer. The ad world [and Sir Martin Sorrell] now waits with bated breath to see whether Havas chairman-ceo Alain de Pouzilhac will trump WPP’s bid of 555 pence per share – just 14p more than Havas’ original offer.

The smart money around Madison Avenue and Charlotte Street is that he will – given Havas’ need to boost its relative weakness in the global media buying marketplace.

Another pointer to de Pouzilhac’s intentions is Havas’ formal notification yesterday to the stock exchange that as at September 3 it “owns, controls, has received valid acceptances or has received irrevocable undertakings in respect of the offer” equating to “approximately 29.3% of Tempus' issued share capital” [as previously reported, WAMN: 22-Aug-01].

News source: AdAge Global