Interpublic’s acquisition of True North Communications [WAMN: 19-Mar-01] will cost the world’s largest advertising group a cool $2.34 billion – of which the actual purchase price of $1.9bn is only part.

The True Cost of True North was revealed yesterday in documents lodged with Securities and Exchange Commission. These also confirmed that the deal will be finalized some time between May 13 – the ending of the sixty-day antitrust review – and the contractually agreed date of September 14. Should shareholder and regulatory approval necessitate, the contract deadline is extendible by a further month.

The SEC data also sheds light True North’s labyrinthine maneuvrings over a twenty-four month period in an effort to persuade four unnamed potential suitors [believed to include WPP, Havas and Omnicom] to plight their troth.

True North also contemplated going private via a management buyout but the option foundered due to concerns over the group’s debt level and the steep growth curve required to service the debt and meet future profit targets.

News source: Advertising Age - Daily Deadline